After another series of test nets, the Ethereum Merge will deliver the long-awaited Beacon chain update in September 2022 after its launch in December 2020

During a conference call on Thursday, Ethereum developers finally doubled down on a target date of mid-September for the Ethereum Merge. Tim Beiko, an Ethereum Core Developer who runs core protocol meetings, proposed the date. 

Ethereum Merge  icon decentra decoded

After no objection, the developers settled on September 19 2022 as the target deadline. Therefore, come September 19 2022, the network is expected to transition from its current proof-of-work to an energy-efficient proof-of-stake consensus mechanism.

“This merge timeline is not final, but it’s extremely exciting to see it coming together. Please regard this as a planning timeline and look out for official announcements.” Beacon chain community manager superphiz.eth later tweeted. 

He also provided a more detailed outline of the next steps, such as the final trial on the last Ethereum test net, Goerli. Within the Ethereum network, test nets offer developers a test environment to try out new updates or changes to a blockchain protocol without the risk of collapsing the primary Ethereum protocol or causing any disruptions to users. After the Goerli Merge, the official Merge for the second half of September will be a priority for developers. 

The announced deadline also followed the recent β€œshadow fork “, which Marius Van Der Wijden, an Ethereum Developer, considered another step in the right direction. 

Moreover, in June 2022, the Sepolia test net Beacon Chain went live, setting the stage for Merge rehearsals to acquaint the Ethereum network developers with the valuable technical insights needed for the Merge. The Sepolio test net was successfully merged with the network on July 7.  

The Ethereum network delayed the Difficulty Bomb in the process.

In June 2022, developers also decided to delay Ethereum’s “difficulty bomb”, seeing as the Merge would not happen before mid-September. The Difficulty Bomb is an update built on the Ethereum protocol. 

It was designed to increase the complexity of the PoW calculations and the time needed to process transactions. This was a sort of self-destructive mechanism intended to incentivize projects and network users to transition to the new proof-of-stake network.  

The network developed the Difficulty Bomb because some developers believed there was a lack of urgency in the transition from PoW to PoS. Some, such as Ben Edgington, pointed out that there were genuine costs associated with not executing the Merge such as the 130,000 tons of carbon dioxide emitted daily by PoW. Almost a million tons a week. However, others like Beiko objected to the notion that developers did not feel the pressure to complete the Merge. 

What does The Ethereum Merge mean for the Ethereum Network?

After the Merge, the so-called validators will take up the role of authorizing transactions and minting new blocks instead of miners being responsible for producing blocks.. A validator, in the case of the Ethereum network, refers to any entity that holds a minimum of 32 Ethereum on the Beacon Chain. 

This stake keeps the holders economically aligned with Ethereum’s goals. If they verify and mint transactions honestly, they are rewarded with Ethereum tokens. Conversely, some Ethereum tokens deducted if validators act dishonestly. 

Furthermore, the PoS consensus mechanism is expected to slash the blockchain’s energy consumption and reduce carbon emissions from PoW mining by as much as 99%. Since these are the two primary critics of the Ethereum blockchain, the Merge might be the improvement Ethereum needs to scale further.