News and Next Steps on Ethereum Merge

On the ETH Shanghai Web 3.0 Developer Summit, Vitalik Buterin announced a major test of the merge on June 8th in the Ethereum test network, Ropstein testnet. The Merge is the switch from Proof of Work to Proof of Stake, a 7-year endeavour. Buterin states that if everything goes according to plan, the merge will take place in August. Any potential delays could set back The Merge to September-October. 

 

After the Merge 

The change from Proof of Work to Proof of Stake has been complex. The Merge is only 1 of the 5 stages planned to create a sustainable, scalable, and stable blockchain. Here is an overview of the upcoming stages:

Stage 1: The merge. The full transition from PoW to PoS (See our article on The impact of Ethereum 2.0). 

Stage 2. The surge (EIP4844): Making it possible for rollups to process very large number of transactions. Instead of having 64 different shards that have 64 different block proposers, a single proposer proposes a very large block.  

Stage 3. The verge: Switch from Merkle Trees to Verkle Trees. Offers the possibility of easily running Ethereum node even if you do not have a powerful computer (vast hard drive space). Simplifies the process for a validator. The protocol becomes more decentralized. 

Stage 4. The purge: Improvements to the efficiency of Ethereum by removing the need to store history. Ethereum clients will no longer need to store the entire history of the Ethereum network, they might only need 1 year of history. Accounts and smart contracts, that people has not interacted with for a long time, would be put into a different type of storage and Ethereum nodes would not need to store this data anymore.  

Stage 5. The splurge. Improves the EVM, account abstraction, solutions to MEV, longer term ideas, using ZK Proofs to improve the Ethereum Protocol, among others.   

 

Ethereum

Source: Vitalik Buterin Twitter post (2021) 

 

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