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July 3, 2022

Ethereum ‘Merge’ Major Network Upgrade

This week, Ethereum mainnet went live with the “Gray Glacier” network update, a step toward the planned shift to a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism for the blockchain.

Tim Beiko, an Ethereum Foundation engineer and Community Manager, revealed the Gray Glacier update on June 16 in an official blog post. A date of June 29 had been set for the rollout of the update, according to the article.

Beiko warned that due to time zone differences and block timings, the exact date of the update may change. When it comes to Ethereum’s “Difficulty Bomb” or “Ice Age,” this update is designed to move it back 700,000 blocks or about 100 days.

Before Monday, June 27, node operators were urged to upgrade their nodes in order to account for block timings that may vary. On June 30, the update was spotted in block 15,050,000.

As mentioned in the report, Ethereum users do not need to do any specific actions in order to welcome the update unless they are instructed to do so by the exchange or wallet service they use.

In contrast, node operators who do not upgrade their software will see their clients sync to pre-fork blockchains when the upgrade occurs. You will be unable to transmit Ether or operate on the post-upgrade Ethereum network if you are locked on an incompatible chain, according to Beiko in the blog post.

There are still some node operators who haven’t done the recommended upgrade. Only 71% of customers were genuinely ready for the update before it launched, as noted on Ethernode.

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However, because of the move to proof-of-stake on the Ropsten testnet, this new difficulty bomb only impacts the mainnet.

The Ethereum difficulty bomb is a method used by the Ethereum team to discourage miners by reducing their earnings from mining in order to minimize mining activity while the network progressively transitions from PoW to PoS. The Gray Glacier update is now live, indicating that The Merge has finally begun to take effect.

Merge has been widely expected as Ethereum’s last network upgrade from a Proof of Work consensus method to a Proof of Stake consensus mechanism. An update is planned to take place in Q3/Q4 of this year, and enhancements that serve as forerunners have already been implemented by the Ethereum team.