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Ethereum Dev Outlines Changes to Expect After “The Merge”

With the merge from proof-of-work PoW to PoS occurring in less than three months, core Ethereum dev Tim Beiko detailed a few
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Core Ethereum (ETH) developer Tim Beiko has detailed a few suggestions and changes that application and protocol developers and users of Ethereum are likely to expect regarding the upcoming Merge. For regular application and protocol users, Beiko suggested they test features to guarantee nothing is broken as more tests are implemented.

On May 24, Beiko released a statement on Twitter saying, “Run stuff, if something seems confusing or is broken. Also, leave a comment as you’re probably not the only one to face a particular issue.” In addition, he asked developers and users to “pay attention and ensure everyone is ready” for the Merge.

The Merge is Ethereum’s highly complex and long-awaited shift from the Proof of Work (PoW) consensus protocol to the Proof of Stake (PoS) mechanism, which is most likely to occur in August this year. The proof-of-work mechanism is the environmentally unfriendly consensus protocol that Ethereum currently deploys, while proof-of-stake is the much more eco-friendly protocol that the company aims to deploy. At that point, the migration will be known as the “Consensus Layer.”

Ben Edington (Product Manager at Teku), Sajida Zouarhi (Product Manager at Hyperledger Besu), and Mikhail Kalinin (Researcher at ConsenSys R&D) are the three members working actively on the Merge, according to a study by ConsenSys.

Users and Developers to Expect Two Major Changes

Testing on multiple testnets has been focused on guaranteeing there are no problems or that existing apps don’t completely crash after the migration. Beiko also highlighted in another tweet that such cross-client issues are mostly unlikely to happen because “99% of changes affect the protocol layer.” The majority of changes are being done on the protocol layer and almost no changes are being made to the application layer.

  • He also added that both app and protocol developers should be aware of the two significant changes that will affect how smart contracts work with the Merge. He expects developers to see the first change occurring in the method for beacon randomness, which helps run applications. This will be required for the migration to PoS and has been published in the Ethereum Foundation (EF) November 2021 update.

The second major change will be that block times will reduce from 13 seconds per block to 12 seconds per block. This will result in smart contracts that use block production speed as a measuring unit to run a second faster following the Merge.

A month ago, Beiko released a statement saying that the merge had been delayed to August. He added that if any other problems arise during the overall testing and shadow fork testing phases, the Merge would further be delayed in order to maintain the security of the network.

He mentioned: “At any point, if there are any more issues, we’ll take our time to address and fix them before moving from mainnet to PoS. This is going to be a massive change and a lot of our money is at stake. If anything goes wrong, it’ll put the security in the wrong hands which could be a disaster for Ethereum as it is arguably one of the most used blockchains.”

Currently, there are approximately 12.6 million ETH staked on the Beacon Chain. It is one of the initial steps taken toward moving Ethereum from mainnet to PoS, launched in December 2020.