The Ethereum community has been buzzing with excitement over the upcoming transition to Ethereum 2.0. Following the successful implementation of the London hard fork last year, the Ethereum “merge’ appears to be the next major step in the line.
With many wondering how much longer we would have to wait for this transition to be complete, the Ethereum developers have given a timeframe for the community to expect.
Another Pesky Delay
Earlier this month, Ethereum developer Tim Beiko took to Twitter to speak on progress being made with the network’s transition to proof-of-stake (PoS). In his tweet, Beiko explained that the development team had to delay the merge a bit as they were implementing several upgrades to make the transition more seamless.
As Beiko pointed out, the development team had been initially optimistic that they could complete the transition by June. This was especially more prominent as they had success with the initial testing phases. However, the new delay would set them back a few months. Referring to the June set time, Beiko explained that the merge would eventually happen a few months later. However, there is still a lot of optimism that the merger will happen this year.
Understanding The Ethereum Merge
The Ethereum merge is expected to mark the official end of Ethereum’s use of the proof-of-work (PoW) consensus mechanism. Ethereum has been using this mechanism since it launched, but issues with the sustainability of PoW have caused the developers to change the blockchain to proof-of-stake.
However, given the size of the Ethereum network and the changes that this transition would bring, the Ethereum developers have been looking to ensure that the transition goes well. So, they set out to build the Beacon Chain for the PoS version of the blockchain first.
With the merge, Ethereum’s mainnet will officially combine with the PoS Beacon Chain. So, it will officially end the use of PoW by the blockchain.
The transition to PoS has been plagued with multiple delays and setbacks. So, this new delay announced by Beiko isn’t necessarily surprising.
The Ticking Time Bomb
The delay announced by Beiko has already ruffled a few feathers in the Ethereum community. Many community members have started becoming uneasy about the constant delays, and they have a bit of a good reason to be that way.
A major issue for many community members is the difficult bomb - a feature that is expected to make Ethereum mining more difficult. The feature was implemented when the London hard fork was run last year, and its goal is to reduce incentives for PoW mining when Ethereum eventually switches to PoS.
As Beiko pointed out in a separate tweet, the difficulty bomb is expected to become more noticeable from May. He added that the bomb would make blocks noticeably slow from August.
“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,” he said.
Despite this, Beiko has pointed out that the difficulty bomb could also be delayed in two ways. The Ethereum developers will most likely have to consider this if they want to keep working on the merge and also maintain the activity on the network.
Progress Being Made Nonetheless
While many in the Ethereum community might be miffed about Beiko’s statement, it is worth ting that delays are much better for the Ethereum blockchain than a launch that doesn’t necessarily work out.
It also helps that the blockchain’s developers have been doing a lot of work to move forward. Earlier this month, they implemented the first-ever “shadow fork,” which would allow them to test their assumptions of the network’s transition to PoS.
Marius van der Wijden, another Ethereum developer, confirmed that the PoS tests had already begun. Additional bullish sentiments like these will definitely build confidence among many Ethereum users. Even though more delays won’t be particularly surprising, the Ethereum developers understand that this could be make-or-break for the blockchain.