Ethereum completed its latest merge testnet earlier today. The most anticipated crypto event of the year has a scheduled launch date.
On a consensus layer call today, members of the Ethereum Foundation estimated that the launch of the core network of “the merger” was scheduled for September 15 or 16. Tim Beiko of the Ethereum Foundation later confirmed the update in a tweet Confirming a targeted total terminal difficulty of 587500000000000000000000000.
– Tim Beiko | timbeiko.eth 🐼 (@TimBeiko) August 11, 2022
Total terminal difficulty refers to the difficulty required to extract the final Ethereum block. At this point, the network will stop Proof-of-Work and switch to Proof-of-Stake. An upgrade called Bellatrix is expected to go live on September 6, and the second part of the merge, called Paris, is expected to launch when TTD is reached. 58750000000000000000000. This is expected to occur between September 15 and 16.
While the date could theoretically change if something goes wrong, this is the clearest sign yet that Ethereum is about to move forward with its long-awaited move to Proof-of-Stake.
The number one smart contract blockchain completed its final test for the merge on the Goerli test network earlier today, bringing the network closer to the event itself. Beiko had previously suggested a tentative launch date of September 19, though that date was never set in stone.
In the absence of final hurdles, Ethereum will “merge” its Proof-of-Work backbone and Beacon Proof-of-Stake chain between September 15 and 16, moving the network to a Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism. This upgrade is expected to bring several benefits, including a 99.9 percent reduction in power consumption and a 90 percent reduction in ETH issuance, as the protocol will no longer need to pay miners to add new blocks to the chain (they will be added by validators who will stake their ETH instead).
Proof-of-Stake Ethereum was discussed as far back as 2014, but has been delayed for several years. Several key crypto projects and the Ethereum community itself have been largely supportive of the update, though in recent weeks some crypto advocates have come up with a plan to fork a Proof-of-Work version of Ethereum to preserve an ecosystem for miners. Justin Sun of TRON and prominent miner Chandler Gou are among the biggest advocates of the fork plan, though their plans have yet to be finalized. USDC and USDT issuers Circle and Tether have said they would support the merger rather than a Proof-of-Work fork.
As the merger draws closer, it has become a dominant narrative in the crypto space in recent weeks. Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin went so far as to say that he thought the merger narrative was ” not taken into account ” last month, although he clarified that he was referring to the psychological impact of the event rather than the crypto market.
Still, whenever the market has rallied in recent weeks, ETH has tended to lead the rallies. It is currently trading at about 100% of its June low, when it fell below $900 amid panic over the catastrophic implosion of Three Arrows Capital. It rose above $1,900 today after the launch of the Goerli test network.
ETH is currently trading just below $1,900, bringing Ethereum’s market capitalization to $227.3 billion. Its dominant position in the global crypto-currency market is about 18.8%.