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Ethereum’s much-anticipated transition away from the proof-of-work (PoW) consensus mechanism is finally coming to fruition. The last pieces in the migration process are falling in place and The Merge event, which will bring Proof-of-Stake to the mainnet, is inevitably close.
One hurdle left after last week’s Gray Glacier hard fork activation
Gray Glacier, a sixth difficulty bomb-delaying upgrade, was successfully initiated on June 30, with some active node operators sharing news of running the same swimmingly hours later. The hard fork effectively delayed the difficulty bomb by about 700,000 blocks giving developers up to around mid-October to get everything in order for the transition to Proof-of-Stake (PoS).
Ethereum Foundation’s Tim Beiko, in a separate tweet, notified client software providers that Sepolia is merging, cautioning them of the hashrate’s volatility. Sepolia is the second of three public testnets, with only Goerli/Prater left before The Merge.
The tentative – agreed upon by core developers and other parties – target for Sepolia Merge is July 6, according to Mario Havel, who shared details on the same in a July 1 tweet.
He noted that the target might come sooner should the hashrate shoot high again. Havel explained that the low and volatile hashrate makes it ‘practically impossible’ to exactly hit the July date, but the set target provides enough window to get things set.
“The [Wednesday] target gives everybody enough time to update their infrastructure, set TTD override or spin up new nodes for #TestingTheMerge. Chosen TTD is not reachable in this short time with average network hashrate, exactly to provide the spare time to get ready,” he wrote.
Havel shared an update on July 4 showing the progress and how the current pace compares to the set target.
“Sepolia Merge is right on time! We got perfect overlap of [current prediction] and [Wednesday target] on July 6 2 PM, let’s keep it like this. [The] goal is to keep the network hashrate in this direction. Please, don’t overshoot this number with high hashrate power! Keep checking [the dashboard] for current hashrate and needed hashrate, fill the gap, but pls be careful.”
The Ice Age has previously been postponed because of setbacks on the Merge path, but if everything goes to plan, this will be the last of such an occasion. Before Grey, Ethereum activated the Arrow Glacier in December 2021, which pushed the bomb back until last month.
Buterin: One-line technicality doesn’t disprove PoS as a decentralization consensus
Ethereum’s current Proof-of-Work mechanism has been at the core of criticisms towards the blockchain – reproof that Ethereum co-creator Vitalik Buterin hopes to suppress with the upcoming transition to PoS. Ahead of the highly-awaited merge event, the Ethereum co-founder defended the PoS mechanism in a direct response to a claim of PoS’ lack of decentralization by Bitcoin developer and educator Jimmy Song.
The Bitcoin developer argued in an earlier tweet that PoS “does not provide decentralized consensus” on the merits of not addressing the Byzantine General’s problem. His argument was welcomed by Ava Labs founder Emin Gün Sirer who expressed his view on the matter as well.
“Proof of Stake isn’t a consensus algorithm. I think I was the first person to publicly point this out, years ago,” Sirer wrote. “Anyone who doesn’t understand this should, in Jimmy’s words, stay out of the discussion.”
Buterin, on the other hand, delicately quashed Song’s claim in a quote reply.
“Pro-tip: if there’s a long-established tradition of people debating A vs B based on deep arguments touching on math, economics and moral philosophy, and you come along saying ‘B is dumb because of a one-line technicality involving definitions,’ you’re probably wrong.“
The Byzantine Generals Problem from a blockchain lens is a game theory debate that illustrates the difficulty decentralized parties encounter in arriving at a single truth. It is the basis of the argument around how many members can collectively reach a consensus in a network where members can’t verify each other’s identity.
More than 2,500 ETH burned by the EIP-1559 proposal
Ether worth $2.816 billion at current prices has been burnt so far by the burn mechanism that came with the EIP-1559 proposal adopted last August. WatchTheBurn data showed that 2,511 ETH had been burnt at the time of writing.
Worth noting, the burn rates have tested low heights in recent days owing to the decreased demand for block space which has seen the average gas fee decline. As we reported, Ethereum’s average transaction fee fell to $1.67 on June 2, setting an 18-month low.
To learn more visit our Investing in Ethereum guide.
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Sam is a financial content specialist with a keen interest in the blockchain space. He has worked with several firms and media outlets in the Finance and Cybersecurity fields.