Don’t get your hopes up, but Ethereum’s transition to proof of stake could happen this summer.
Preston Van Loon, an Ethereum core engineer, said today on a panel at the Permissionless conference that the shift will be completed in the next three months.
“As far as we know, if everything goes to plan, August—it just makes sense,” said Van Loon. “If we don’t have to move [the difficulty bomb], let’s do it as soon as we can.”
Ethereum Foundation Justin Drake, also on the panel, noted there’s a “strong desire to make this happen before [the] difficulty bomb in August,” according to a tweet from event co-host Bankless.
Van Loon and Drake were referring to an event called The Merge. It’s when the current Ethereum blockchain merges with the proof-of-stake beacon chain. That move will shift the network from mining—where people run powerful computers for the chance to earn ETH—to staking, in which Ethereum holders can deposit their ETH in exchange for rewards.
August isn’t just any old month. To avoid the so-called “difficulty bomb,” which would soon begin to impair the network, Ethereum core developers opted not to upgrade the network in early May. It’s a component of the blockchain that deliberately slows down the network.
The goal was to encourage developers to pursue proof of stake while also making it difficult for miners to remain on the proof-of-work chain after the move. This month, core developers chose not to shift their focus away from The Merge, which is now under testing. Its accomplishment would eliminate the requirement for the difficulty bomb to be defused.
While both proof of work and proof of stake help keep the network secure and decentralized, proof of stake has several added benefits. Aside from using much less energy, proof-of-stake consensus should also make it easier to participate in running the network—enabling further decentralization and increasing security.
The Merge expected to cut the issuance of Ethereum by about 90%
Less ETH in circulation means, of course, less supply and higher demand, which should push the price of the coin up. As of today, 1 ETH is going for $2,000, according to data from CoinMarketCap. The most optimistic of Ethereum bulls think The Merge could take the asset’s price back over its all-time high of $4,891, set in November 2021.
It’s taken a long time to get proof of stake. It’s technically been operational since December 2020, when Phase 0 of “Ethereum 2.0,” a set of enhancements designed to grow the network while also improving security, was completed.
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