At the ETH Shanghai Web 3.0 Developer Summit on Thursday, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin confirmed that the merge will likely occur this summer, despite being pushed ahead several times in the past.
After working on the proof-of-stake transition for around seven years, Buterin finally remarked that the Merge is ‘very close to happening’ at this point.
Merge months: August, September, or October
The co-founder acknowledged, “If there are no problems then the merge will happen in August. But of course, there’s always a risk of problems. There’s also a risk of delays. And so September is possible and October is possible as well.”
That said, Ethereum developers have already set June 8 as the date for the biggest testnet merge on the Ropsten network.
Regarding which Buterin said, “So this will be a major test, larger than any of the tests that we have done before. Taking a large existing test network with many applications with proof-of-work, moving into proof-of-stake.”
Therefore, the success of Ropsten’s PoS transition will essentially decide The merge timeline this year.
The post-merge roadmap
According to the Ethereum Roadmap shared by Buterin in December 2021, the Beacon Chain has been in existence for around 1.5 years, making way for the PoW to PoS transition.
The Beacon Chain introduced the proof-of-stake mechanism to the Ethereum ecosystem back in December 2020.
Buterin also acknowledged that the crucial London hard fork as part of Ethereum Improvement Proposal- 1559 was also executed in August last year. Considering Ethereum’s gas fees has been one of the biggest challenges for the network ahead of the transition.
Andreessen Horowitz’s latest State of Crypto report has noted that Ethereum prioritized decentralization over scaling, which led to Ethereum-killers benefitting over time.
Notably, A16z has called Ethereum’s popularity “a double-edged sword”. However, despite the challenges, the network is currently a leader with around seven million and 50 million active users, as per the report.
According to Buterin’s roadmap, after The merge, Ethereum will focus on scalability through Sharding, before introducing additional improvements through The Verge and The Purge. The steps that will improve validation and reduce the data burden for the nodes.
However, the Canadian programmer doesn’t think that all the steps of the roadmap necessarily need to happen.
He said, “So my personal opinion is if we have The merge and we have The Surge and we have nothing else, then Ethereum will still be a great system.”
“But I think if we also get The Verge and we also get The Purge and we also get these other improvements [The Splurge], then Ethereum will be an even better system,” Buterin added.
Therefore, the project will focus on Shard Chains after The merge to distribute the network load across 64 shards.
The crypto ecosystem at large
According to Buterin, the crypto space, including the Ethereum space, ‘is focusing too much on financial applications’ in the last couple of years. He remarked, “I think financial applications, they are good, they are important, but financial applications are also high risk.” Adding further that people try too hard to optimize them.
Meanwhile, recent developments in the crypto market that occurred after the Terra ecosystem meltdown also fuel Buterin’s concerns.
In addition, comparing the 2008 financial crisis to the Defi ecosystem, Buterin emphasized that rather than trying too hard to be efficient, the system needs to think enough about being resilient.
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