Ethereum begins testing to abandon mining

Ethereum begins testing to abandon mining

Key facts:
  • There are already more than 300 people in the community trying The Merge, the next step in the transition.

  • Ethereum 2.0 raises several changes, although it seeks not to affect network operations.

The transition to Ethereum 2.0 now faces a new step on its roadmap. This is The Merge testing phase (“the merger”), a stage that includes the union of the original block of the new network, called Beacon Chain, with the current block chain.

In this way, after the Altair update reported by CriptoNoticias on September 29, Ethereum begins to experiment – still in beta phase – what will be the transition to its new form, which seeks to be more efficient, scalable and secure.

It was only enough with the “order” of one of the pilots to start a new test flight on Ethereum. Marius Van Der Wijden, one of the developers of the network, urged the community to start testing The Merge, the next step in the change from PoW (proof of work) mining to Proof of Stake (PoS).

Through a publication on his Twitter account, Van Der Wijden assured that they are “starting a new program for the community to get involved in testing the fusion.” Along these lines, he encouraged those who want to collaborate with this task – “the best way to contribute to Ethereum” – to send him a direct message through that network.

Ethereum begins testing to abandon mining
“Ethereum needs you to test The Merge,” the Joseph Stalin-based meme that Van Der Wijden shared. Source: Twitter.

The response the developer received was immediate, with more than 150 messages in his inbox in just hours, according to his account. Currently, more than 300 people are participating in this test.

Van Der Wijden divided them into three groups: non-technical, developers with basic knowledge and, finally, those with advanced knowledge. Each of the groups has different tasks, graded according to their difficulty.

What does The Merge mean for Ethereum 2.0

Ethereum 2.0 is the name given to the new structure with which this blockchain will be organized. It will be composed of 64 fragments, the first of which has been called Beacon Chain. How does this explain publication of the Ethereum foundation, this will include the previous data of the proof of work, the current mining mechanism for the creation of blocks.

Altair, the update activated on October 27 in the network epoch 74240, was the first update of Beacon Chain. Its main objective was the consolidation of this fragment, and it is part of the first phase of the roadmap of this process of change.

Now, what follows is The Merge. Continuing with the cited publication, it is explained that devnets (developer sandboxes) are being created and that the specifications are almost ready.

Although it is not known for sure when the transition will end, there are already “people queuing” for the proof of stake in Ethereum to begin. In August, CriptoNoticias reported that had already deposited in version 2.0 of the network 6,805,325 ethers (ETH). Based on the current price of the cryptocurrency, that equates to $ 31,099,042.

Structural changes in Ethereum

While The Merge is claimed to be intended to cause “the least possible impact” on network operation, smart contracts, and dapps (decentralized applications), there are “some changes worth noting.”

For example, regarding the structure of the blocks, the previous contents of the proof of work will be stored in the Beacon Chain, which can be thought of as the new “proof of stake consensus layer” in Ethereum. Meanwhile, the fields that contain information about PoW will not be eliminated, but will be set to 0, as explained in the EIP-3675.

Ethereum begins testing to abandon mining
Illustration of how difficulty is determined before and after The Merge. Source: Ethereum Blog.

Also, the Ethereum blog post provides other details regarding blockhash, difficulty, and block creation time. The latter will be exactly 12 seconds, except in a few exceptions, one second less than what it usually takes to create a block with the current consensus.

What’s more, the change from the concept of “confirmed block” to “secure headers” and “completed blocks” is detailed., which can be used “more safely.” The completed blocks are those accepted as canonical by more than two-thirds of the validators.

Meanwhile, a secure header is one that is expected to be included in the string. It must have certain characteristics to be qualified as such and it is considered less prone to being compromised than the last block of the current proof of work.

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