The Merge is currently slated for tonight: ~1:30am EST, ~10:30pm PDT, 5:30am UTC depending on hash rate. Follow exact time to “TTD” here:
Where to Watch!?
- Bankless: The eve of the Merge Livestream (Sept. 14, 5 p.m. ET)
- Ethereum Foundation: Ethereum Merge viewing party (Sept. 14, 11 p.m. ET)
Post-Merge: What to Watch
“Ben Edgington, a product lead at the Ethereum research and development firm ConsenSys, says the first thing he’ll be paying attention to when the Merge happens is whether or not blocks of transactions are being proposed to Ethereum’s proof-of-stake chain.
We expect a block like clockwork every 12 seconds on the proof-of-stake chain. Every ‘slot,’ which is a 12-second interval, a validator is chosen by the protocol to propose a block for that slot. A few missed slots, are not immediately calls for desperate concern.
The next thing Edgington will be looking at post-Merge will be the network’s participation rate.
In contrast to the proof-of-work network, on proof of stake all of the validators participate all of the time – they’re voting on [all] the blocks that they see. We know we have [around] 420,000 validators, so we can count the votes and we can see how many are going missing. So we get a participation rate.
[Participation rate] is particularly useful in getting a sense of the overall health of Ethereum as a [proof-of-stake] network. A high participation rate from validators suggests that there is a strong probability epochs [big groups of slots] will be finalized without delay. A low participation rate, below the 2/3 threshold, suggests the opposite – that network finalization has a high likelihood of being delayed.
The key indicator of a successful Merge will be when the network reaches finality.
Finality is when the network collectively declares a block – a checkpoint in time in which it will never be reverted. We will never rewrite history before that point. The point at which we pop the champagne is the point where we finalize the Merge checkpoint, which will be somewhere around 13 to 15 minutes post-Merge. Network finality on the Ethereum Beacon Chain is reached after 2 epochs are confirmed by at least 2/3 of active validators. An epoch is a period of time, 6.4 minutes, divided into 12-second intervals [ie. slots].
The World is Watching
“To learn more about the merge’s importance and its rollout, TIME spoke with Justin Drake, who is one of Ethereum’s key researchers leading the transition. Drake is well-known in the Ethereum community. He is based in Cambridge, U.K., and coordinates and guides the work of other Ethereum researchers and developers around the world. He says that the merge will make cyberattacks upon Ethereum more expensive and make its building blocks cheaper and easier to use.
I’m extremely passionate about Ethereum. I see its mission as becoming the settlement layer of the internet: a low-level piece of infrastructure that helps humans coordinate things of value.”
“There’s a version of the future that’s tantalizingly possible in which Ethereum becomes the base layer for pretty much everything.
Recent advances in a technology called zero-knowledge Rollups — from StarkWare, Polygon and zkSync — enable the blockchain to move from fewer than 20 transactions per second to… well, an infinite number of TPS. In theory, it would allow the entire world’s financial system to run on Ethereum.
“I think it’s theoretically possible,” explains Declan Fox, product manager for rollups at Consensys, which provides Ethereum infrastructure and apps like MetaMask. “We have the technology to achieve that kind of throughput necessary. With recursive rollups and proofs, we theoretically can infinitely scale.”
The tech is so new and so promising that soon after it became viable, Ethereum rearranged its entire roadmap to take advantage of it.
StarkWare has already rolled up as many as 600,000 NFT mints into a single transaction on ImmutableX, and Ben-Sasson says they’ll be able to cram 6 million NFTs into a single transaction soon. This type of scaling capability puts crypto back in the game for everyday payments and microtransactions. Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin told attendees at last month’s Korea Blockchain Week that scaling meant payments were back on the table.
Sergej Kunz, co-founder of DeFi aggregator 1inch Network sees Ethereum dominating the entire space, with layer-2 — and layer-3 recursive-proof — solutions running on top of it and benefiting from its decentralization and security.
I love also that the Ethereum guys tried to keep it as simple as possible, the main chain. Other layer 2s above it can be very complex, providing proofs to the ‘safe’ chain that everything’s fine.
Proper scaling, of course, will be the moment of truth for blockchain technology. Until now, most of crypto has been about hopes and dreams and speculation about what the technology will be able to do in the far-off future. That’s all about to change.”