Ethereum Developer Announces Update to ‘Merge’ Timeline

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In Brief
  • Ethereum's "merge" faces delay.

  • More testing on shadow forks needs to be done first.

  • There may need to be a separate difficulty bomb delay.

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The long-awaited “merge” on the Ethereum network will not be happening in June according to a lead developer.

Developer Tim Beiko has updated information and the timeline for the network’s highly anticipated “merge.”

In a tweet on April 13, Beiko said:

“It won’t be June, but likely in the few months after. No firm date yet, but we’re definitely in the final chapter of PoW on Ethereum.”

The latest setback is not really a surprise since there have been several delays in the upgrade roadmap. Ethereum detractors took to Twitter to vent their tribalism to which Beiko responded:

Ethereum moves to consensus

The Merge is the next stage in the Ethereum upgrade roadmap when the existing ETH 1.0 chain merges, or docks, with the ETH 2.0 chain, known as the consensus layer.”

He added that a date will only be set “once client teams are confident that the software implementations have been thoroughly tested and are bug-free.”

Developers and client teams have been testing using shadow forks which are secure environments for stress testing the merge. The first of these shadow forks went live on April 11, and another is planned for April 22.

Beiko said that these have “revealed implementation issues in clients,” which the teams are now fixing, and they are regularly re-running shadow forks to test the fixes. He added:

“Once clients work without issues during shadow forks, then the existing Ethereum testnets (Ropsten, Goerli, etc.) will be run through the Merge.”

Mainnet merge will only occur when testnets have successfully upgraded and remain stable, he added.

Difficulty bomb delays

Beiko also mentioned the Ethereum difficulty bomb which refers to the increasing complexity of mathematical “puzzles” in the proof-of-work mining algorithm.

It will start to become noticeable around May, he said, before adding blocks will become “unbearably” slow by Aug.

He said that the difficulty bomb would need to be delayed again if client developers do not think they can deploy the merge to mainnet before block times become too slow.

Two suggestions were proposed with the first combining the bomb delay with the merge upgrade if the two happen within a couple of weeks. If the merge is delayed by too long, there will need to be a separate difficulty bomb delay before it happens.

At the time of writing, Ethereum prices had gained 1.4% on the day to trade at $3,114 following an 8% loss over the past week.

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Martin has been covering the latest developments on cyber security and infotech for two decades. He has previous trading experience and has been actively covering the blockchain and crypto industry since 2017.

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