Ethereum network is nearing the merger phase of its crucial transition from proof-of-work (PoW) mining consensus to proof-of-stake (PoS). Ethereum (ETH) devs offered a perpetual merger date during a conference call on Thursday.
The conference call saw core Ethereum developer Tim Beiko, who runs core protocol meetings, propose September 19 as the tentative target date for the merger. The proposed target date didn’t face any objection from the core developers.
Later, Ethereum developer superphiz.eth tweeted about the roadmap to the merger and also cleared that the proposed target date should be seen as a roadmap rather than a hard deadline.
Ethereum’s transition journey to PoS-based ETH 2.0 began on December 1, 2020, with the launch of Beacon Chain, initiating Phase 0 of the transition. Phase 1 of the program was scheduled to launch in mid-2021 but got delayed to the first quarter of 2022 owing to unfinished work and the complexities involved in the code auditing.
Earlier in June this year, Sepolia testnet Beacon Chain went live, setting the stage for its Merge dress rehearsal to give Ethereum network developers valuable technical insights. The Sepolia was eventually merged with the network on July 7.
The final trial of the Merge is set to occur on the Goerli network, which is scheduled for the second week of August. After its merger, the official Merge slated for the second half of September would become a priority for devs.
Ethereum’s transition to PoS based network is expected to reduce its energy consumption by 99% and the introduction of sharding (expected by the first quarter of 2023) would make the network highly scalable and on par with centralized payment processors.
The PoS vs. PoW debate has been a long-running one, where PoS proponents claim it's more environment friendly and equally secure while PoW proponents, including the likes of Jack Dorsey, have called PoS centralized and less secure.
Lately, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has been aggressively defending PoS, arguing that quite opposite to common belief, PoS does not include voting on protocol parameters, just like proof-of-work (PoW) doesn’t. Buterin also explained that nodes reject invalid blocks in both PoS and PoW.
While Buterin continues to bat for PoS, a recent report from HOPR highlighted some of the key vulnerabilities that could prove critical post Merge.
“We should stress that this isn’t an emergency: It doesn’t affect any funds today. But this WILL be a major problem post Merge and validators are incentivized to disrupt each other to poach a share of millions of $$$ in MEV.”
The report highlighted that validators on the network leak their IP addresses while broadcasting attestations and blocks, which are linked to their public key but these validators are known ahead of time, allowing for highly targeted and selective attacks (DoS or other) against upcoming validators.
The HOPR team noted that an audit report has even labeled the issue as “mitigated,” which is not true because attackers are not limited to (DoS) attacking the Teku node.