On September 15, 2022, the Ethereum network will adopt the Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism in place of its current Proof-of-Work (PoW) system. This is a momentous event that perhaps the entire cryptoverse has been waiting for for years.
On September 15, 2022, the Ethereum network will adopt the Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism in place of its current Proof-of-Work (PoW) system. This is a momentous event that perhaps the entire cryptoverse has been waiting for for years. And, as the date draws nearer, news and predictions around The Merge also seem to be coming in droves and fast.
Here are three of the most recent and notable updates on Ethereum’s transition to PoS.
Google Adds Ethereum Merger Countdown
Google has added a countdown timer to the Ethereum merger. Any “Ethereum merge” or related searches will take you to a countdown with the days, hours and minutes remaining until the update. It also highlights the current difficulty of mining and the difficulty at which smelting takes place. It also shows two pandas running to kiss, symbolizing the merging of Ethereum’s main chain and its PoS beacon chain. The pandas will get closer to each other as The Merge approaches.
The tech conglomerate also had good reason to add the animation, with the term “Ethereum Merge” seeing much higher search volumes over the past few days.
Security experts warn of post-merger vulnerability
Proof-of-stake blockchains are said to be less susceptible to 51% attacks. Indeed, anyone planning such an exploit would have to stake massive amounts of ETH to control 51% or more of the network’s transaction validation rights. They would also risk losing all of their staked ETH, leading to huge losses. However, one particular blockchain developer and security expert warns of potential post-merger vulnerabilities.
In an interview with Corner Telegraph, he explained that the proof-of-stake consensus mechanism informs the nodes in advance about the blocks they will validate. This foreknowledge can allow malicious actors to orchestrate what is known as a reorganization attack, which typically takes place when a network update occurs. The expert explained that such an attack is theoretically possible after The Merge if the validators manage to align two consecutive blocks to be validated.
“If you control two consecutive blocks, you can start an exploit on block N and end it on block N+1 without any arbitrage bot coming in and fixing the price you manipulated in between” , said the expert, choosing to remain anonymous.
He explained that reorganization attacks are possible on PoW blockchains, but it would depend on luck to succeed. He also explained that such an attack is still only theoretical and that PoS is an otherwise secure consensus mechanism.
“But that being said
The effect of The Merge on layer 2 blockchains
There have also been some whispers about the viability of Layer 2 scaling solutions after the merge. Many have wondered if such solutions would still be needed after the transition to PoS and the eventual adoption of sharding somewhere in 2023. However, several experts have explained that The Merge will have no effect on L2 chains.
“It will be business as usual for L2s. These solutions still have key value for short, medium and long-term scalability. L2s will still be needed to meet the growing demand and use of blockchains across Even 100,000 transactions per second won’t be enough to meet true global demand and adoption.”
Some even see The Merge as beneficial rather than worrisome. “As Ethereum L1 becomes more efficient, L2s will simply become even more efficient while preserving their existing additional benefits,” said Alan Chiu, founder of Boba Network, a Layer 2 scaling solution for Ethereum.
An example would be Polygon, which could see its carbon footprint shrink by 60,000 tonnes, according to the Crypto Carbon Ratings Institute (CCRI). The CCRI estimates that nearly 99.92% of Polygon’s emissions come from activity on Ethereum’s base layer.
Therefore, with The Merge expected to reduce Ethereum’s energy consumption by 99%, Polygon’s annual carbon emissions will be reduced to 56.22 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e). This is a steep drop from its current emission levels of 60,953.26 tCO2e.
The Ethereum merger is a huge event in the cryptoverse. This will have far-reaching effects on the rest of the crypto industry. And with only a few days until the merger, we won’t have to wait too long to see how these effects materialize and take shape.