Ethereum’s long-awaited migration to a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism, which has been pushed back time and time again, looks set to occur sometime in August — hopefully.
Preston Van Loon, a core developer of the Ethereum network, told attendees at the Permissionless conference that the transition, known as The Merge, would occur sometime in August if everything plays out according to plan.
Van Loon told the 5000 attendees that the team was looking to make the transition before the so-called “difficulty bomb” would degrade the network as scheduled:
“As far as we know, if everything goes to plan, August — it just makes sense. If we don’t have to move [the difficulty bomb], let’s do it as soon as we can.”
Echoing this sentiment was fellow Ethereum researcher Justin Drake stated that ensuring the Merge went ahead quickly was a top priority, sharing his “strong desire to make this happen before difficulty bomb in August.”
The “difficulty bomb” refers to the program coded into the Ethereum blockchain that intentionally slows down the network. It was designed to encourage the transition to PoS by making it more difficult for miners to stay behind on the proof-of-work (PoW) chain after The Merge.
On April 11, Ethereum developer Tim Beiko announced that The Merge had once again been delayed. Despite a successful “shadow fork test,” Beiko said that The Merge would not be implemented in June as expected. According to Beiko, developers need to act quickly to avoid the difficulty bomb, otherwise, they will need to introduce yet another update to delay the bomb:
“If client developers do not think they can deploy The Merge to mainnet before block times are slowed too much, it will need to be delayed again.”
The recommitment to the timeline comes in the wake of this week’s news the Ethereum network will see a “huge testing milestone,” with the Ropsten testnet Merge set to be conducted on June 8. The Ropsten testnet Merge will see the PoW test network combined with a new PoS consensus layer testnet. It will simulate what will happen once the actual Merge between Ethereum and the Beacon Chain finally takes place and it becomes a PoS network.
If The Merge is successfully implemented in August, the final landmark on the roadmap for Ethereum, formerly known as Eth2, is the sharded chains upgrade slated to go live in early 2023. Until then, however, the network will continue to utilize layer-2 networks like Polygon and Optimism to handle scalability and high transaction volumes.