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Ethereum to Merge in August as Final Testing Begins

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·3-min read
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Key Insights:

  • The long-awaited transition to proof-of-stake could be happening in the next three months.

  • The Merge will not reduce gas fees but will slash Ethereum’s energy consumption.

  • ETH prices keep tanking, having lost 26% over the past week.

The next major upgrade for the Ethereum (ETH) network will be rolled out in August, according to core developer Preston Van Loon who made the statement at a panel at the Permissionless conference.

“As far as we know, if everything goes to plan, August—it just makes sense,” he said before adding, “If we don’t have to move [the difficulty bomb], let’s do it as soon as we can.”

The Merge is a milestone upgrade that transitions the Ethereum network consensus mechanism from proof-of-work mining to proof-of-stake (PoS). It is a significant step as it will reduce Ethereum’s energy consumption by more than 99%, which should keep the critics, policymakers, and environmentalists at bay.

The difficulty bomb is a mechanism that increases the difficulty level or complexity of “puzzles” in the proof-of-work mining algorithm. As the calculations become harder, it results in longer than standard block times and lower rewards for miners.

Final Phase of Merge Testing

Ethereum client developers announced the final phase of testing this week, whereby the Merge will be deployed on the Ropsten testnet. Ropsten is the closest development network to the real thing, so it will be able to rigorously battle-test the Merge and PoS. According to Ethereum client developers, Ropsten testing will commence on June 8.

The Merge will not lower gas fees, however, as this will only occur when scaling upgrades such as sharding are implemented. Earlier this month, average transaction fees surged to around $200 as an over-hyped nonfunglible token (NFT) collection was launched on the network. The high cost of using Ethereum when under heavy load has been the bane of many users, and there will be little relief on that side of things from the Merge.

Scaling upgrades such as EIP-4844 are also being developed. This one takes the side chain concept a step further and introduces a new type of transaction called “Proto-Danksharding” that will process “blobs” of data to improve blockchain throughput.

Aside from the environmental benefits, another upside of the Merge is a reduction in ETH issuance. There will be no more Ethereum mining, and the transaction fee burning mechanism introduced with EIP-1559 should result in deflationary issuance for the asset.

ETH Prices in Decline

The positive fundamentals have done very little for ETH prices as the bears are still in control of crypto markets. Ethereum has gained 3.6% on the day to top $2,000 once again, but it has been hammered this month.

Over the past fortnight, the asset has dumped a painful 26% sending it tumbling to 58% below its November all-time high of $4,878, according to CoinGecko. It is unlikely that ETH will see any bullish momentum until there is a broader turnaround in sentiment for the overall crypto market.

 

This article was originally posted on FX Empire

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