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Ethereum Developers Looking for Potential Merge Dates

Source: AdobeStock / Sergey Nivens

During a call on Thursday, Ethereum (ETH) developers mentioned potential dates for the Merge – the massive and much-anticipated event when Ethereum moves from the proof-of-work (PoW) consensus mechanism to proof-of-stake (PoS).

The dates mentioned in the document shared during the call include September 15, 16, and 20.

Notably, an upgrade that will start the entire Merge process will have to happen first. This upgrade is called Bellatrix, and about two weeks need to pass between it and the actual Merge.

There was also a discussion about speeding up the hashrate so that the time between Bellatrix and the Merge would be shortened from 14 to 7 days, or a 10-days “compromise”.

There also needs to be a sufficient amount of time before the Merge in case something with Bellatrix goes wrong, they said. 

All this said, most developers seem to be in favor of seeing Bellatrix on September 6, which means that the Merge may follow on the 20th (or earlier). Another possibility is to have Bellatrix on the first day of September, then the Merge on the 15th.

The first scenario goes along with previous estimates. In mid-July, developer Tim Beiko proposed September 19 as the tentative date.

During this most recent call, the developers also said that they want to avoid having the Merge on a weekend, and some said to avoid Friday for the Merge so not to hit the weekend. 

There will be another call next week when the developers will discuss the tentative dates again. Importantly, there is no exact date for the Merge yet.

Meanwhile, the developers also discussed the Goerli testnet Merge that happened on Thursday. Though some issues were noted, including a bug in one of the clients for which they say there is a fix, the participants in the call agreed that this merge was successful. The testnet merge saw the Goerli testnet merge with the Prater testnet, a PoS beacon chain, and represents the final test before the actual Merge takes place.

The two previous testnet merges, Ropsten and Sepolia, were considered successful as well.

At 8:00 UTC on Friday, ETH was trading at USD 1,890, unchanged in a day and up 17% in a week.

Following the call, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin tweeted that,

“The terminal total difficulty [TTD] has been set to 58750000000000000000000. This means the ethereum PoW network now has a (roughly) fixed number of hashes left to mine.”

Buterin also shared a TTD prediction for the Merge, by border.wtf, which (at the time of writing) stated that “around 872.3 TH/s in the network is needed as of now” – and that the set TTD is expected around September 15.

Source: bordel.wtf

This TTD has also been confirmed in a blog post by Danny Ryan, Core Researcher and ETH 2.0 Coordinator at the Ethereum Foundation. Ryan, however, noted that this TTD is “tentative” and that,

“The TTD is based on Proof-of-Work difficulty and is thus a bit hard to estimate precisely. The target date is September 15, 2022, but this estimate might have even a week of error.”

Next week, all estimates will be re-checked during the developers’ call, and “the TTD will either be confirmed or a final adjustment will be made to better hit the target date.”

Ryan further explained that the Merge itself consists of a sequence of two upgrades: the aforementioned Bellatrix on the Consensus Layer, and Paris on the Execution Layer.

Bellatrix upgrades the Beacon Chain to be “Merge aware”, and it is activated at the chosen epoch (144896).

He added,

“Paris is the Merge transition itself, in which Ethereum Mainnet hot-swaps its consensus from Proof-of-Work to the Beacon Chain’s Proof-of-Stake. The Paris upgrade activates at the chosen Terminal Total Difficulty (TTD).”

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(Updated at 14:30 with TTD information shared by Danny Ryan and Vitalik Buterin.)

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