The merging event, which has been anxiously awaited by the Ethereum community, is almost here as the Altair upgrade goes online.
The much-anticipated final switch to a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism for the Ethereum blockchain has now been made possible by the “Gray Glacier” network upgrade going live on the Ethereum mainnet.
In a blog post published on June 16th, Tim Beiko, a developer and community manager at the Ethereum Foundation, announced the Gray Glacier upgrade. According to the article, the upgrade was supposed to go live at block 15,050,000 on June 29.
Beiko said that due to different time zones and block timings, the precise date of the upgrade is subject to change. The upgrade is intended to modify the conditions of Ethereum’s very own “Difficulty Bomb” or “Ice Age” by delaying it by 700,000 blocks, or around 100 days.
To account for unpredictable block times, node operators were encouraged to update their nodes by Monday, June 27. The improvement was generally at block 15,050,000 on June 30.
As mentioned in the report, Ethereum users are not need to take any additional actions to welcome the upgrade unless they are instructed to do so by the exchange or wallet provider they use.
However, node operators will see their clients sync to the pre-fork blockchain as the upgrade is happening if they do not update to the most recent version. Beiko wrote in the blog post, “You will be stuck on an incompatible chain obeying the old rules and you will not be able to send Ether or use the post-upgrade Ethereum network.”
Not every node operator has followed the recommendation to update to the most recent version. Only 71% of customers were genuinely ready for the upgrade before it launched, as can be seen on Ethernode.
The Gray Glacier upgrade’s difficulty bomb adjustment only applies to the mainnet because the Ropsten testnet has already switched to proof-of-stake.
The Ethereum team has implemented a technique known as the “Ethereum difficulty bomb” to disincentivize miners by lowering mining profits as the network gradually transitions from PoW to PoS. The Gray Glacier upgrade’s debut suggests that The Merge is now actually taking effect.
The Merge, Ethereum’s final switch from a PoW to a PoS consensus method, has been one of the most eagerly awaited moments in the cryptocurrency world. The upgrade is anticipated to happen in Q3/Q4 of this year, according to the Ethereum team, and improvements acting as forerunners have already been made.