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Author Topic: ViaWallet Academy | How Will the Upcoming Merge Change Ethereum?  (Read 533 times)


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Recently, during a conference call, Ethereum core developer Tim Beiko proposed an execution date of September 19 for the Merge, which will shift the network’s consensus from PoW to PoS, and the proposal did not invite any objection from the community. However, as explained by Ethereum developer superphiz.eth, the date of September 19 hasn’t been finalized and is only a tentative date for the Merge.

The Ethereum community is much concerned with the progress of the Merge, and all topics relating to the latest Ethereum 2.0 development have sparked heated discussions. Although many have become less enthusiastic due to the many delays, most users are still looking forward to the Merge, a major upgrade depicted in Ethereum’s roadmap, as well as the changes it will bring to the biggest public chain ecosystem.

Changes in Ethereum’s roadmap
During the past six months, followers of the Ethereum community will notice that developers rarely mentioned the term Ethereum 2.0, which originally referred to a major upgrade that helps the network transition to PoS after it goes into the Serenity stage.

However, as Ethereum’s roadmap evolved, the original roadmap witnessed several changes. In the beginning, Ethereum 2.0 included the Beacon Chain in Phase 0, the Shard Chains in Phase 1, and the Merge in Phase 2. After the Merge, the network would shift from PoW to PoS.

In reality, however, as the ETH developers started to work on the Beacon Chain in 2020, they noticed that the Beacon Chain could be developed faster than the other facilities. In addition, although the team originally planned to tackle the network’s scalability problem via sharding prior to the Merge, as Layer 2 thrived, they decided to use Rollup technologies such as Layer 2 to complete the task of scaling the execution of transactions for the moment being and shifted the priority to the transition from PoW to PoS.

Following the changes in the roadmap, the Ethereum Foundation had to use different terms. To avoid misunderstandings, the Foundation announced that it will abandon the term “ETH2”. To be more specific, the current Ethereum mainnet is now called the “execution layer” that handles transactions and execution, and ETH2 is renamed the “consensus layer”, which coordinates and processes PoS. In other words, the Beacon Chain, which now runs Ethereum’s PoS, will become the coordination network of the consensus layer. Once the Beacon Chain and the Ethereum mainnet (now the “execution layer”) go through the Merge, the network will have officially completed its transition to PoS.

Just recently, the Ropsten and Sepolia testnets completed their merge, and the Goerli merge is expected to happen on August 11. According to what we heard from the Ethereum developers, Goerli is Ethereum’s last testnet merge, and the mainnet merge would take place on September 19 if all goes well according to the plan.

How will the Merge change Ethereum?
The Merge will not change the user experience by much. The shift from PoW to PoS alone will only slightly increase the network’s TPS. That said, sharding, the next step after the Merge, will genuinely boost Ethereum’s performance. According to the current plan of the ETH community, Ethereum will adopt the Danksharding proposal, which, coupled with Rollup technologies like Layer 2, will significantly improve Ethereum’s TPS (if the proposal is successful).

Developers should note the fact that the Merge now intends to rely on the Ethereum mainnet as a security guarantee, and that the network encourages developers to create more Layer 2 solutions that tap into the Rollup technology. In the future, more users and projects will likely experience and develop applications on Ethereum’s Layer 2.

Ethereum’s PoW miners will be most affected by the Merge, which will help the network transition to PoS. This means that miners using GPUs to mine ethers will have to turn to other alternative PoW chains, and they will no longer be able to use the existing mining machines to mine ETH.

For retail investors, two factors stand out: 1) users will be able to convert the previously discounted stETH into ETH after the Shanghai Upgrade, which is expected to take place six months after the Merge; 2) After the Merge, the ETH supply will take a huge plunge. Based on the current burning status of Gas fees, Ethereum could even become deflationary.

As a long-awaited crypto event, the Merge will be at the center of the spotlight. Meanwhile, the more energy-efficient PoS mechanism will also address PoW’s problem of energy waste, which has been widely criticized. In light of the current market conditions, the Merge will also boost the confidence of the industry. Let’s look forward to Ethereum’s performance after the Merge.

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