Ethereum is entering the final stages of preparations for the much-anticipated Merge event after Goerli, the network’s third and final testnet, successfully switched over to a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus algorithm on Wednesday evening. ETH was up 14% in 24 hours at the time of writing, buoyed by anticipation of the Ethereum mainnet merge next month.
Earlier this summer, the Ropsten testnet successfully transitioned to PoS in June, and the Sepolia testnet making a similar switch at the beginning of July.
The Goerli testnet merge was announced at the end of July and happened in two phases, beginning with the pre-required Bellatrix upgrade on August 4. The second step, called Paris, was triggered today after the Terminal Total Difficulty (TTD) on the Goerli chain reached 10,790,000.
This second phase of the upgrade saw the execution layer client transition to proof-of-stake, with the next block after the switch produced by a validator operating on Beacon Chain—a PoS network that runs alongside Ethereum's mainnet.
Goerli, which is a testnet environment for Web3 developers to test blockchain applications before launching them on the Ethereum mainnet, is different from both Ropsten and Sepolia in that, prior to today’s switch, it was running on proof of authority (PoA) consensus algorithm rather than on proof of work (PoW).
Today’s Goerli merge also differs from the early testnet integration in that node operators were required to update both their consensus layer and execution layer clients at the same time rather than only one of the two.
According to the Ethereum Foundation, the Goerli Merge is the final opportunity for users to ensure that their PoS validators are configured correctly before the mainnet transition.
It will also serve as the final test run before the Ethereum mainnet is expected to formally merge with the Beacon chain next month, with a soft date of September 19.
The Merge is Ethereum’s most significant upgrade since the launch of the network in 2015 and will bring the current energy-intensive ETH mining process to an end, replacing it with a PoS model that is expected to improve the network’s scalability and make it 99% more environmentally friendly.
Whether a smooth merge might help put an end to the current crypto winter remains to be seen.
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