Ethereum’s Bellatrix update which *prepares* the chain for the merge has gone live. Co-founder Vitalik Buterin took to Twitter to reveal the expected release date to be from September 13-15. Tim Beiko, ETH’s core developer earlier put the network’s complete transition on Sept 15.
“The actual transition happens upon hitting a specific Total Difficulty value of 58750000000000000000000 on the proof-of-work chain”, the tweet read.
The hard fork that will transform Ethereum (ETH) from a proof-of-work (PoW) base to a proof-of-stake (PoS) mechanism is known as Ethereum 2.0.
Before the final merge comes the Bellatrix update for ETH which went live today at around 5:00 IST or 11:34 UTC. Here the update will trigger the Epoch value [the time taken to complete a specific amount of blocks] to rise by 144,896 on the proof-of-stake chain.
According to the Ethereum Foundation, the time taken to mine 30,000 blocks is one epoch.
The Bellatrix hard fork is crucial for a smooth merge as it consolidates the PoS chain with the current execution layer and is the last step before the Paris Upgrade, which will occur after “the Merge” [current proof-of-work].
The Paris Upgrade will bring Ethereum Blockchain mining to an end and signal the switch from a PoW to a proof-of-stake validation mechanism.
The goal here is to increase the eth network’s speed from the current 20 transactions per second to 1,000–1,500 tps. Also, to boost scalability and effectiveness to execute more transactions concurrently.
Eth proponents believe this figure has the potential to reach 100,000 transactions per second if an external solution [roll-up] is used.
Additionally, the change would significantly cut down on energy usage.
The Bellatrix upgrade along with the Beacon Chain is joined with the Ethereum mainnet, and the consensus algorithm is completely changed from PoW to PoS.
What’s Next After Ethereum’s Merge?
The next stage is to introduce the layer 2 scaling solution zk-rollups which uses an Ethereum sidechain to consolidate and execute several transactions at once. This is to lift the burden away from the mainnet by processing data elsewhere.
The two most crucial processes here are merge and surge.
The final comes sharding that splits up a blockchain into smaller groups for specific purposes. Each blockchain can have its own shard, which can also be replicated on multiple nodes. As per the ETH foundation, the 2.0 model would come with 64 separate shards
Buterin says once the merge, surge, and sharding are over, Ethereum will be close to 80% complete.