The Ethereum mainnet is just one testnet merger away from officially transitioning to a proof-of-stake (PoS) blockchain. After multiple shadow forks and testnet merges, the years-long journey has reached the final stage with the announcement of the final testnet merge to the Beacon chain.
The transition to PoS began in December 2020 with the launch of the Beacon chain, starting Phase 0 of the three-phase process. Phase 1, the current phase, was slated to be completed by 2021. However, due to numerous delays and unfinished work on the developers’ end, it is expected to be completed by the third week of September. The final phase of the transition is slated to be completed by late 2023.
Lead Ethereum developer Tim Beiko took to Twitter to announce the details of the Goerli testnet transition. The Goreli testnet will merge with the Beacon Chain called Prater and the combined Goerli/Prater network will retain the Goerli name post-merge.
Goerli/Prater Merge Announcement— Tim Beiko | timbeiko.eth (@TimBeiko) July 27, 2022
Prater will run through the Bellatrix upgrade on August 4th, and merge with Goerli between August 6-12th: if you run a node or validator, this is your last chance to go through the process before mainnet https://t.co/JAz5AJe12B
The testnet merger will be completed in two phases starting on Aug. 4 with the Bellatrix upgrade on the consensus layer. The Bellatrix upgrade will be triggered by the epoch height of 112260.
Ethereum’s PoS network progresses in epochs instead of blocks, where one epoch is a bundle of up to 32 blocks.
The second phase of the upgrade will be called Paris, where the execution layer will transition from proof-of-work (PoW) to proof-of-stake. This phase is expected to be completed between August 6–12. The Paris upgrade will be triggered by a specific Terminal Total Difficulty (TTD) of 10790000. Once the execution layer crosses the threshold TTD, the next block will be solely produced by a PoS validator.
The official announcement noted that the upcoming Goerli merge will be different from the early testnet integration since the node operators need to update both their consensus layer and execution layer clients in tandem, rather than just one of the two. The developer team also attached numerous client releases that support the testnet Merge.
The upcoming final testnet merge will only impact the node operators and testnet participants, Ether (ETH) holders and stakers won’t have to make any changes from their end. The testnet merge will be the final rehearsal before the Ethereum mainnet officially merges with the Beacon chain on Sept. 19. However, the perpetual Merge date could see a change depending on the outcome of the Goerli test net.
The PoS transition of the Ethereum network is being slated as the biggest upgrade for the blockchain network since its inception. The upgrade is focused on increasing scalability through the introduction of sharding and reducing high transaction costs. However, most of the scalability features are expected to be integrated after the completion of the final phase of the transition, which is expected by the second half of 2023.