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What Does Ethereum’s Merge Testing mean?

Ethereum is transitioning from Proof-of-Work to Proof-of-Stake, and as of now, Ethereum’s merge testing is going on. Read on to find out what it means.

Ethereum, the second-largest crypto, is transitioning from Proof of Work to Proof of Stake. The process is already underway. Ethereum has launched a parallel blockchain by working on a proof of stake mechanism known as the Beacon chain.

The Ethereum Merge

However, the Beacon chain doesn’t support transactions and can be used only for staking ETH. The Ethereum mainnet supports the transactions in Ethereum. Eventually, the current mainnet will merge with the beacon “proof of stake” system. This is known as the merge and is an eagerly awaited update for crypto users. For some time, the Ethereum foundation has been running merge testing on Ethereum to ensure a seamless transition. 

Once deployed, the merge will mark the end to the proof of work for Ethereum and there will be a full transition to proof-of-stake.

For the uninitiated, the merge is a set of upgrades that will make Ethereum faster and cheaper and will solve some of the current issues that result in a reduced speed of transactions on the blockchain.

The merge of the existing system with the new system will ensure that the network’s history is preserved along with functionality. However, it will eventually change the consensus mechanism.

 Merge Testing on Ethereum

To ensure that the transition takes place smoothly, the Ethereum foundation has been conducting Ethereum Merge Testing by creating testnets before the merge is deployed on public testnets.

On March 15, 2022, the Ethereum Foundation announced that the Ethereum merge testing was successful on Kiln. The final merge testnet before the merge will be deployed on Ethereum’s public testnets.

As per the foundation, like the Ethereum mainnet, the execution layer of Kiln was launched under the proof of work, parallel to the Beacon chain running on Proof of Stake. The merge happened on March 15, 2022, on Kiln, and the network is running entirely on Proof of Stake.

This is the final phase of testing, and as per the foundation, Kiln is expected to be the last of the testnets created before the existing public testnets are upgraded.

The predecessor to the kiln in Ethereum merge testing was the kintsugi merge testnet, which resulted in the development of a set of stable and robust protocols for the merge.

Proof of Stake (POS) V/s Proof of Work

Under POS, the transactions are validated based on ETH staked by several validators. This mechanism is much more energy-efficient in comparison to POW, and the energy consumption is nearly 99% lower. One currently has to access the Ethereum mainnet that currently works on POW to buy Ether. The Ethereum community has been working on the transition to POS since 2015 when the blockchain was launched.

 The Ethereum blockchain is currently running on a system of validating the transactions by a decentralised network of computers that compete to solve mathematical puzzles. This is known as mining, and the mechanism is known as Proof of Work. One of the drawbacks of mining is that it is a high energy-consuming process and is not very environmentally friendly.

Due to this, the cryptos like Bitcoin and Ethereum that are based on proof-of-work mechanisms come under criticism. 

As a step towards the transition, the Beacon chain was launched in December 2020 by Ethereum, a system that works on a Proof of stake structure.

To buy ether or other transactions on Ethereum, one has to log on to the Ethereum mainnet, which will soon be merged with beacon chain, the system based on proof-of-stake.

Timing

Based on the testing updates, the crypto users, including Developers, stakers, Node administrators and others, are expecting the merge to happen as soon as June 2022. However, recent indications from the foundation suggest that it may take a little more time than that.

Scenario Post Merge

After the merge, the energy consumption will be drastically reduced, thereby reducing the network’s carbon footprint, which is currently as large as the whole of Finland. It is expected that once the ETH becomes a POS token, the number of new ETHs issued will reduce by 90%, and Ether is expected to become a deflationary currency.

The subsequent upgrades post-merge will increase the speed and capacity of the network by introducing “Shard chains.” This will increase the network to 64 blockchains, but this cannot happen before the merge as the blockchains depend on staking.

Parting thoughts…

Once the Ethereum merge testing is over and the merge is deployed, you can stake as many tokens as you want, and you will be able to withdraw the tokens that you are staking now. The withdrawal of the currently staked tokens may not begin immediately. This can only be done after certain upgrades that will happen shortly after the merge.

The existing miners of Ethereum will no longer need to mine. They could invest their earnings into a new proof of stake system. So, to buy ethereum and take advantage of an improved experience on Ethereum, post the merge log on to Zebpay.

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