Cryptocurrency: What Is “Merger” And When Will The Ethereum Platform Software Upgrade Happen? – Tech Tribune France

From around mid-September, the Ethereum blockchain will undergo a major change, known as the “merger”, affecting how transactions are verified on the most widely used crypto platform. The current Mainnet which contains all transactions, smart contracts and balances since its launch in July 2015, which uses “proof of work”, will be merged with the Beacon chain, which uses “proof of stake”.

The change will give the network “more scalability, security and sustainability” according to Ethereum. Proponents of the new system say it will be more egalitarian than the current method of mining because there will be a lower barrier to entry.

Why Ethereum is doing “the merger”

Currently, The Ethereum infrastructure uses a “proof of work” like Bitcoin to verify crypto transactions and maintain the decentralized ledger. Miners compete to be the first to solve complicated puzzles in order to add new blocks of data to the blockchain.

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This is very energy intensive and consumes large amounts of electricity, in the case of Ethereum and Bitcoin combined, their consumption is slightly lower than in Indonesia. Switching to “proof of stake” could reduce the amount of energy needed to reach consensus on new blocks on the Ethereum blockchain by more than 99.9%.

Instead of competing with miners, validators place a minimum stake of 32 Ethereum digital coins to participate in the validation mechanism. The larger a validator’s stake, the more likely they will be selected to verify that new blocks propagated on the network are valid and therefore the monetary reward that accompanies it.

However, if a validator behaves inappropriately, their stake may be destroyed. Economic sanctions as “proof of stake” should make the blockchain more secure by increasing the cost for a potential attacker to 51%, this is when the miners who have majority control of the network can stop registering new blocks. Likewise, the community can collectively recover the honest chain if an attack overcomes the crypto-economic defenses.

“The Merge” is a complex undertaking

Even before the Ethereum blockchain started adding transactions to its ledger in 2015, the founder of the crypto platform, Vitalik Buterin, considered using “proof of stake”. However, the new infrastructure is much more complex than “proof of work”. It took years of research and development to refine the mechanism.

At the end of 2020, the Beacon Chain was launched and runs alongside the Mainnet, the existing execution layer of Ethereum. Since, testing was done on the Beacon chain for it to come to a consensus on its own state while the Mainnet validated transactions and added new blocks to the blockchain.

Ethereum compares “The Merge” to a spaceship hot-swapping the old engine for a new one mid-flight so that it is ready for interstellar travel. Around mid-September, the Beacon chain and the mainnet will become one, with the former becoming the engine of block production.

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Cryptocurrency: What Is “Merger” And When Will The Ethereum Platform Software Upgrade Happen? – Tech Tribune France


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