The Ethereum blockchain merge from proof-of-work (PoW) to proof-of-stake (PoS) has finalised its Bellatrix upgrade, proving to be a significant landmark in the progression of digital currency.
Ethereum 2.0’s blockchain under the new PoS mechanism will officially launch between 13-15 September after completing its final upgrade, commencing after a two-year wait for the blockchain’s full integration since December 2020.
The move from PoW to PoS is seen by many crypto insiders and experts as a pivotal moment in crypto’s history, as PoS drastically lowers the energy consumption and costs of PoW’s output, allowing for better energy efficiency and scalability opportunities.
Ethereum Co-Founder, Vitalik Buterin, confirmed the merge’s official launch date via Twitter and clarified questions of the Bellatrix upgrade.
The merge is still expected to happen around Sep 13-15. What’s happening today is the Bellatrix hard fork, which *prepares* the chain for the merge. Still important though – make sure to update your clients!
— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) September 6, 2022
In essence, Bellatrix prepares Ethereum’s PoS Beacon Chain or Consensus layer, with the blockchains mainnet execution layer, into one complete integration.
PoS will afford less computational work to run as opposed to a PoW chain, as the blockchain and cryptocurrencies become more secure due to a more efficient approach to verifying blocks and transactions.
Coin owners on Ethereum 2.0 will effectively become validators when staking their coins to validate a particular block of the blockchain, chosen at random unlike PoW where it ran a more competition-based system.
Under this new format, to become a validator, a coin owner must stake a specific amount (32ETH for instance) of coins. Once a specific number of validators have been chosen at random for an individual block, it can then be verified and secure. This block process is often sometimes referred to as a Consensus Layer.
PoS has so far been viewed as a success (although it does have its weaknesses) due to its synchronised data approach, enhanced verification activity, and ability to maintain records.
Once Ethereum’s PoS chain is launched, its PoW chain will increase too large to the point where mining new blocks will not be possible.
Dan Held, Bitcoin educator and market advisor, believes the significance of the Ethereum merge will now put pressure on Bitcoin from environmentalists due to its larger energy consumption as it operates under PoW.
Held spoke on a recent episode of Decrypt’s gm podcast, stating: “I do think it will add pressure to Bitcoin’s energy consumption, because they’ll point to Ethereum and say, ‘Hey, t’this blockchain isn’t using very much energy at all, and you’re using a lot.’ They’re not going to understand proof of stake versus proof of work, or anything else.”
“If there’s a catastrophic failure in the Ethereum protocol due to these trade-offs, well, yeah sure, you cut your energy consumption down by 99% but then the protocol failed.”
Held continued: “I’m not saying that it will, I’m saying that it opens up Ethereum to some technical attack vectors that the Bitcoin community does not want to take on. And that’s why they’re sticking with proof of work.”