There are already more than 300 people in the community testing The Merge, the next step in the transition.
Ethereum 2.0 proposes several changes, although it seeks not to affect the operations of the network.
The transition to Ethereum 2.0 now faces a new step in its roadmap. This is the testing phase The Merge, a stage that involves the union of the original block of the new network, called Beacon Chain, with the current blockchain.
Thus, after the Altair update
reported by CryptoNews on September 29, Ethereum begins to experiment -still in beta phase- what will be the transition to its new form, which seeks to be more efficient, scalable and secure.
It was only enough with the “order” of one of the pilots to start a new Ethereum test flight. Marius Van Der Wijden, one of the network’s developers, urged the community to start testing The Merge, the next step in the shift from PoW (proof of work) mining to proof of stake
In a post
on his Twitter account, Van Der Wijden said they are “starting a new program to get the community involved in testing the merge.” In that line, he encouraged those who want to collaborate with this task – “the best way to contribute to Ethereum” – to send him a direct message through that network. “Ethereum needs you to test The Merge”, the meme based on Joseph Stalin that Van Der Wijden shared. Source: Twitter.
The response the developer received was immediate, with more than 150 messages in his inbox in just hours, according to his account. Currently, more than 300 people are participating
in the test.
Van Der Wijden divided them into three groups
: non-technical, developers with basic knowledge and, finally, those with advanced knowledge. Each of the groups has different tasks, graded according to their difficulty.
What The Merge means for Ethereum 2.0
Ethereum 2.0 is the name given to the new structure with which this blockchain will be organized. It will be composed of 64 fragments, the first of which has been called Beacon Chain. As this publication of the Ethereum Foundation explains
um, here will include previous data from the test of work, the current mining mechanism for the creation of blocks.
Altair, the update activated on October 27th
in epoch 74240 the network, was the first update of Beacon Chain. Its main goal was the consolidation of this shard, and it is part of the first phase of the roadmap of this change process.
Now, what follows is The Merge. Continuing with the publication cited above, it is explained that devnets (developer test spaces) are being created and that the specifications are almost ready.
While it’s unclear when the transition will be finalized, there are already “people lining up” for Ethereum’s proof of stake to begin. In August, CryptoNews reported that 6,805,325 ethers (ETH) had already been deposited into the 2.0 version of the network. According to the cryptocurrency’s current price
, that equates to USD 31,099,042.
Structural changes to Ethereum
While The Merge is said to be intended to cause “as little impact as possible” on the operation of the network, smart contracts and dapps (decentralized applications), there are “some changes worth noting.”
For example, in terms of block structure, previous proof-of-work contents will be stored in the Beacon Chain, which can be thought of as the new “consensus layer for proof-of-participation” in Ethereum. Meanwhile, fields containing PoW information will not be removed, but will be set to 0, as EIP-3675
explains. Illustration of how difficulty is determined before and after The Merge. Source: Ethereum Blog.
Also, the Ethereum blog post provides other details regarding the blockhash, the difficulty and the block creation time. The latter will be exactly 12 seconds, with few exceptions, one second less than it usually takes to create a block with the current consensus.
In addition, the concept of “confirmed blocks” has been changed to “secure headers” and “finalized blocks”, which can be used “more securely”. Finalized blocks are those accepted as canonical by more than two-thirds of the validators.
A secure header is one that is expected to be included in the chain. It must have certain characteristics to qualify as such and is considered less likely to be breached than the last block in the current blockchain.