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Ethereum releases a major mainnet Merge announcement

Quick Take:

  • Ethereum is transitioning to proof-of-stake (PoS). The Merge, as it is called must be activated on the Beacon Chain primarily with the Bellatrix upgrade.
  • The proof-of-work (PoW) chain will then migrate to PoS once it hits a specific Total Difficulty value.
  • The ‘Terminal Total Difficulty’ which will help trigger The Merge is 58750000000000000000000, and it is expected to take place between Sept 10-20, 2022.

After enormous work, Ethereum’s PoS upgrade is finally ready to be implemented. All public testnets are now successfully completed, and The Merge, scheduled for the Ethereum mainnet, is right around the corner.

The Merge is different to  former upgrades in two distinctive ways. 

  • Firstly, the node operators must update both their execution layer (EL) and consensus layer (CL) clients in tandem, instead of catering to just one out of both. 
  • Secondly, the upgrade activation takes place in two phases: the first phase is called named Bellatrix, while the second one is named Paris.
eth 2.0 upgrade information

Image Source: Ethreum.org

Timing is everything

The Merge comprises a two-step process. The first step deals with an upgrade in the Bellatrix network. It focuses on the consensus layer which is activated by an epoch height. 

What follows afterward is the transition of the execution layer from PoW to PoS, or Paris, which is then triggered by a specific Total Difficulty threshold, which is also known as the Terminal Total Difficulty (TTD).

The Bellatrix upgrade is due for epoch 144896 on the Beacon Chain – Sept 6, 2022, at 11:34:47am UTC. Paris, the execution layer’s portion of the transition, is expected to take place between Sept 10-20, 2022.

Once the execution layer exceeds the TTD, a Beacon Chain validator will produce the following block. The Merge will be completed once the Beacon Chain finalizes this block. Under general conditions, this may take 2 epochs (or ~13 minutes) after the first post-TTD block is produced.

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