Because Beacon Chain’s launch in December 2020 marked the beginning of Ethereum’s shift from PoW to PoS, the process might take up to years. However, there have been a number of setbacks along the road.
The essential step of the Ethereum network’s shift from proof-of-work (PoW) mining consensus to proof-of-stake is almost complete (PoS). On Thursday, during a conference call, Ethereum (ETH) developers proposed permanent merger date.
Tim Beiko, a core Ethereum engineer who oversees core protocol meetings, suggested September 19 as a possible merger goal date during the conference call. The core developers raised no objections to the recommended goal date.
The recommended goal date should be viewed as a plan rather than a strict deadline, Ethereum developer superphiz.eth clarified in a later tweet regarding the merger roadmap.
This merge timeline isn’t final, but it’s extremely exciting to see it coming together. Please regard this as a planning timeline and look out for official announcements!https://t.co/ttutBceZ21 pic.twitter.com/MY8VFOv0SI
— superphiz.eth 🦇🔊🐼 (@superphiz) July 14, 2022
Phase 0 of Ethereum’s transition to PoS-based ETH 2.0 got underway on December 1, 2020, with the introduction of Beacon Chain. The program’s first phase was supposed to begin in the middle of 2021, but due to unfinished business and the complexity of the code audits, it was postponed to the first quarter of 2022.
The Sepolia testnet Beacon Chain went live earlier in June of this year, setting the stage for its Merge dress rehearsal to provide Ethereum network developers with helpful technical insights. On July 7, The Sepolia and the network finally united.
The Goerli network will host Merge’s last trial, which is slated for the second week of August. The formal Merge, scheduled for the second half of September, would become a priority for developers following its merging.
By switching to a PoS network, Ethereum should consume 99 percent less energy, and the addition of sharding (anticipated by the first quarter of 2023) will make the network highly scalable and competitive with centralized payment processors.
The PoS vs. PoW controversy has persisted for a while; some who support PoW, such Jack Dorsey, have labeled PoS centralized and less secure, while others who support PoS assert that it is more environmentally friendly and similarly secure.
Recently, co-founder of Ethereum Vitalik Buterin has been vehemently defending PoS, contending that, contrary to popular opinion, PoS does not contain voting on protocol settings, just as proof-of-work (PoW) does not. Buterin further clarified that nodes in both PoS and PoW reject incorrect blocks.
Pro-tip: if there’s a long-established tradition of people debating A vs B based on deep arguments touching on math, economics and moral philosophy, and you come along saying “B is dumb because of a one-line technicality involving definitions”, you’re probably wrong. https://t.co/22N0OaHyz1
— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) July 3, 2022
While Buterin keeps advocating for PoS, a new report from HOPR identified some of the most significant weaknesses that might become crucial after the Merge.
“We should stress that this isn’t an emergency: It doesn’t affect any funds today. But this WILL be a major problem post Merge and validators are incentivized to disrupt each other to poach a share of millions of $$$ in MEV.”
The report emphasized that validators on the network broadcast attestations and blocks that are linked to their public keys while leaking their IP addresses. However, since these validators are known in advance, highly targeted and selective attacks (DoS or other) against upcoming validators are possible.
But those don’t do the problem justice. Yes, validators leak their IPs which can be linked to pub keys.
But this gets much worse because validators are known ahead of time, allowing for highly targeted and selective attacks (DoS or other) against upcoming validators
— HOPR 🟡 (@hoprnet) July 12, 2022
The HOPR team made the observation that an audit report even classified the problem as “mitigated,” which is untrue given that attackers are not just capable of (DoS) targeting the Teku node.