Ethereum proof of stake migration changes everything.
The “Merge” shifted the Ethereum blockchain from the proof-of-work (PoW) consensus mechanism to a proof-of-stake (PoS) model intended to be faster and more energy efficient. But adjusting the second-largest blockchain from one system to another is an incredibly complex, multi-step process. It’s important that each decision be assessed thoroughly. We’ll take you through the reasons and various stages leading to the protocol’s new chapter.
In addition to the transition to Proof-of-Stake, The Merge included multiple upgrades to how the Ethereum network operates. Many of these upgrades make pre-chain data more important than ever when navigating a post-Merge world to ensure your users can transact with confidence.
After the merge, you’ll eventually be able to run smart contracts on mainnet Ethereum using proof of stake rather than proof of work. You’ll also be able to withdraw any ETH you’ve staked on Ethereum 2.0. You won’t be able to do this right after the merge, however. You’ll have to wait for yet another post-merge upgrade, which the Ethereum Foundation—the organization that oversees the development of the Ethereum blockchain—expects will happen “very soon” after the merge.
Proof of stake migration timeline.
The PoS-powered blockchain, unlike the proof-of-work or PoW-based blockchain, bundles 32 blocks of transactions during each round of validation, which lasts on average 6.4 minutes. “Epochs” are the names given to these groups of blocks. When the blockchain adds two additional epochs after it, it is considered irreversible i.e., an epoch is considered finalized.
The third and final public testnet completed a “practice run” of the Merge and successfully moved to proof-of-stake when the Terminal Total Difficulty (TTD) exceeded 10,790,000. This followed the Bellatrix upgrade to Goerli’s beacon chain, Prater, which was activated on Aug. 4.
The merge itself took around 12 minutes to come into effect, with the success of the event signaled by the network successfully proposing and approving new blocks of transactions under the proof-of-stake consensus mechanism. The Ethereum network missed just one block during the transition and, after 12 minutes and 48 seconds, successfully reached finality.
What Proof of stake means for Ethereum
Proof-of-stake is a cryptocurrency consensus mechanism for processing transactions and creating new blocks in a blockchain. A consensus mechanism is a method for validating entries into a distributed database and keeping the database secure. In the case of cryptocurrency, the database is called a blockchain—so the consensus mechanism secures the blockchain.
Proof-of-stake is designed to reduce network congestion and environmental sustainability concerns surrounding the proof-of-work (PoW) protocol. Proof-of-work is a competitive approach to verifying transactions, which naturally encourages people to look for ways to gain an advantage, especially since monetary value is involved.
Proof of stake (PoS) is a class of blockchain consensus algorithms in which validators vote on the next block before adding it to the chain. Proof of stake is considered an improvement over the proof-of-work algorithm thanks to its resource efficiency, eco-friendliness and better decentralization parameters: to join staking, there is no need to purchase expensive mining equipment.