On Thursday (August 11), prominent MIT AI Researcher Lex Fridman said that on Wednesday (August 10) he had had a chat with Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin about the “Merge” hard fork (which is when the Ethereum network is making the transition from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake).
Interestingly, Friedman, who is not particularly prone to exaggeration or hyperbole, called The Merge “an important moment in the history of crypto.”
Here is how Ethereum Foundation explains The Merge:
“The Merge represents the joining of the existing execution layer of Ethereum (the Mainnet we use today) with its new proof-of-stake consensus layer, the Beacon Chain. It eliminates the need for energy-intensive mining and instead secures the network using staked ETH. A truly exciting step in realizing the Ethereum vision – more scalability, security, and sustainability.
“It’s important to remember that initially, the Beacon Chain shipped separately from Mainnet. Ethereum Mainnet – with all it’s accounts, balances, smart contracts, and blockchain state – continues to be secured by proof-of-work, even while the Beacon Chain runs in parallel using proof-of-stake. The approaching Merge is when these two systems finally come together, and proof-of-work is replaced permanently by proof-of-stake.
“Let’s consider an analogy. Imagine Ethereum is a spaceship that isn’t quite ready for an interstellar voyage. With the Beacon Chain, the community has built a new engine and a hardened hull. After significant testing, it’s almost time to hot-swap the new engine for the old mid-flight. This will merge the new, more efficient engine into the existing ship, ready to put in some serious lightyears and take on the universe.“
Ethereum’s mainnet merge is expected to take place around September 15/16:
Buterin started his talk by saying:
“The Etheruem protocol right now is in the middle of this long and complicated transition, and it’s a transition toward becoming a system, which is much more powerful and robust in a lot of ways, right?
“At the end of the last year, I published this kind of updated roadmap document, where I talked about these big five categories of stuff that’s happening in Ethereum protocol land, where there’s the merge, the surge, the verge, and then a bit lower is going to be the purge and the splurge, right?
“The Merge is proof of stake. The Surge is sharding, and The Verge is Verkle Trees, The Purge is things like state expiry and deleting old history, and The Splurge is basically just all of the other fun stuff.”