Proof of stake: Ethereum delays the biggest update in its history

The event, which is expected by Ethereum users, but also by investors and developers, was to take place in June. “The Merge,” the name given to a breakthrough network update, will finally roll out this fall.

Not in June, but certainly in the following months “. These few words, from from a tweet by Tim Beiko, one of the leading developers of Ethereum, have caught the attention of many crypto fans. And for good reason: they talk about The Merge, one of the most important steps that the blockchain must pass – and the date of the event has just been postponed.

If this Ethereum update is late, Tim Beiko guarantees: “ there is no specific date yet, but this is the last chapter of the PoW (proof of work, or proof of work, editor’s note) on Ethereum. »

Ethereum developers have been talking about it for years: “The Merge”, or La Fusion in French, is scheduled for 2022. What is called The Merge refers to the passage of a so-called “proof of work” system “, or proof of work, to a protocol of “proof of stake”, or proof of stake. This change is a switch expected for years by the crypto community, and is of paramount importance for the future of Ethereum.

But its arrival requires a lot of work and even more control networks (meshes of nodes, which make it possible to check each transaction entered in the blocks) in order to ensure that everything is going well. And, as Tim Beiko announced, the Fusion should be delayed a few months, and arrive at the earliest this fall.

The Merge is a very important moment for Ethereum

If The Merge is so important, it is because the transition from proof of work to proof of stake will redefine the future of Ethereum.

The system currently used by the blockchain to mine, that is to say create new blocks and create units of ether, its crypto-currency, is that of proof of work. A proof-of-work ecosystem asks computers to answer extremely difficult equations in order to add a new block to the chain: it is this work that ensures the inviolability of the chain. Today, it is the protocol most used by blockchains, including bitcoin.

But proof of work is increasingly criticized for its environmental cost. The equations have become so complex that they require the work of enormous computer parks so that they can be solved. It is necessary to deploy a very significant computing power and, consequently, the energy consumption is very high to make everything run.

Proof of stake is another protocol that validates blocks, but unlike proof of work, it does not require as much power consumption. With Proof of Stake, miners must stake a portion of their cryptocurrency holdings in order to qualify to mine a new block, eliminating the need to mobilize huge computer parks.

The Merge is delayed – but should still take place in 2022 // Source: Choong Deng Xiang / Unsplash

There are already blockchains based on proof of stake, in particular that of Cardano. But Ethereum was originally created to work with proof of work. The Merge is therefore a huge transition project towards proof of stake: you have to move an extremely developed network, without altering its content, without creating a security problem, and without preventing its operation.

Ethereum delays the arrival of the transition to proof of stake

It’s because the stakes are high that Tim Beiko’s tweet got a lot of attention, and the developer had to post an explanation the next day, April 13, 2022. in a new tweet. For the moment, and despite the delay of a few months, there is nothing to worry about: the tests are going well. ” As of this month, all teams are being prepared for The Merge, and the networks have been tested numerous times “says Tim Beiko in his publication.

This is one of those test procedures, a shadow fork, which revealed some problems with the implementation of The Merge at customer networks. Ethereum developer teams are now dealing with repairs and trying solutions. ” Once these issues at customer networks are resolved “, continues Tim Beiko, the developers of Ethereum will be able to communicate a more precise date for The Merge.

Proof of stake: Ethereum delays the biggest update in its history
The Merge will profoundly change the way the Ethereum blockchain works / Source: Shubham Dhage / Unsplash

The exact date of the operation will however remain difficult to define precisely. ” Unlike previous updates, The Fusion will not proceed from a specific block, but will be triggered by an increase in the difficulty of the calculations. Since this kind of operation is more difficult to estimate, the delay between when The Merge is announced and when the merger actually takes place could be shorter than for previous updates. “.

It’s normal for The Merge to be late

Other than Tim Beiko’s estimate, there’s no definite timeline for The Merge yet, and there certainly never will be. Many tests will continue to be held, and they could, again, postpone the arrival of the proof of stake.

But these delays are not necessarily bad signs: the transition from one system to another is an extremely complex operation, which requires the work of a large team, and very thorough checks. The slightest problem during The Merger could weaken the entire ecosystem, and it is therefore essential to ensure the viability of the operation.

In the meantime, although the transition to proof of stake is slow to occur, it is not necessarily advantageous to buy computers and mining equipment. Asked on Twitter by a user worried about the delay, Tim Beiko replied that he ” strongly advised against to invest in equipment at this point in the project. A sign that despite the delays, the project should soon be coming to an end.

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Proof of stake: Ethereum delays the biggest update in its history

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