The Ethereum Beacon chain has successfully implemented its “Bellatrix” upgrade – the final step of preparation before the long-awaited Ethereum Merge.
The network as a whole is now ready for The Merge itself, estimated to take place late next week via an upgrade subbed “Paris.”
What is Bellatrix?
Bellatrix was a minor hard-fork on the Ethereum Beacon Chain only, which introduced an extra parameter called “execution payload” into the node software. This parameter was required for validator nodes to be able to properly process blocks on the mainnet after The Merge is complete.
A majority of Ethereum nodes needed to upgrade their client software version to the new version, before the Bellatrix upgrade was activated at epoch 144,896 (11:34:47 AM UTC).
With the Bellatrix upgrade now complete, the Beacon Chain is now ready for the actual Merge, which will be effected through the “Paris” upgrade.
The Merge – Paris
The actual Merge will finally occur around September 13-16, when the “Paris” upgrade is triggered. No concrete date or time can be provided, because the upgrade is set to occur at a specific “terminal total difficulty” (TTD), rather than a specific time.
In simple words, Paris will be put into motion when a specific amount of miner computing has been performed. In this case, a TTD of 58750000000000000000000 (I know, that’s a lot of zeroes!).
Although a target date of September 15 has been estimated for this to occur, this TTD value may be reached earlier or later, depending on how much mining power is on the network leading up to the Merge.
Once Paris is triggered, validators on the Beacon Chain will take over from these miners to process blocks, shifting the entire network from Proof-of-Work to Proof-of-Stake.
What can we expect from The Merge?
A successfully completed Merge will mean Ethereum’s energy consumption will be reduced by around 99.95%, thanks to Proof-of-Stake. Unlike the old network, which required a complex hardware setup to become a miner, anyone can participate in staking on the new network if they own Ether (ETH).
In addition to this, a new foundation will be set for future upgrades to the network, which already plan to improve scaling – that means more throughput, with potentially faster and cheaper transactions on the Ethereum base layer.