The Ethereum Merge is Incoming!
Right on schedule, the Bellatrix upgrade went live on the Ethereum network on Sept 6th at 7:30pm Manila time. The entire network is now locked in for the final stage of the Merge, which is estimated to hit within the next 5 days. Why do we still not know the exact date? Traditionally, a big change like this one would happen at an agreed block number. (Remember that a blockchain is literally just a chain of blocks, so each block has a higher ID number than the last.) So usually when there’s a big upgrade, the developers would just say, let’s implement it at block #15,500,000 or something like that.
Now, for security reasons, the Ethereum Foundation decided that instead of triggering the change at a specific block number, they were going to use “total block difficulty” instead. What’s total block difficulty? The easiest way to imagine it is this. Ethereum uses a certain amount of energy or electricity to generate each new block, because it’s still on the traditional Proof-of-Work consensus protocol. The total amount of power consumed by Ethereum since it began back in 2015 can therefore be added up … kind of like a cumulative, lifetime electricity bill. That’s the total block difficulty. Only when the total electricity bill has exceeded a given amount will the entire chain switch over to Proof-of-Stake. This makes it impossible for counterfeit chains to emerge during the transition because they would need to show an electricity bill for 7 years worth of consumption in order to be believable.
However, it’s an inconvenient situation for folks who want to hold a celebratory Eth Merge party, since the total block difficulty could be reached anytime within the next 5 days. (You can check this status page for real-time estimates, the current estimate is late Sept 14th or early morning Sept 15th.) Once that difficulty level is reached, the whole network is expected to transition in under 13 minutes. The culmination of 7 years of work for hundreds of developers will take less time than your average Axie Origin duel.
Speaking of Axie Origin, AxieCon is happening right now in Barcelona, and yesterday, SkyMavis announced that their cofounder Jeff “Jihoz” Zirlin will be speaking at our Philippine Web3 Festival on the week of November 14th, right here in BGC. If you haven’t already, sign up at PhWeb3Festival.com to get updates. We’re selling tickets beginning next week!
Quick PSA on the Merge! Although the odds are slim that there will be any severe technical glitches, I would be extremely careful about executing any big transactions during the first 24-48 hours after the Merge has finalized. This is especially true if $ETHW (the expected competing fork of $ETH) actually does materialize. There’s a social-engineering scam that involves assisting people in selling off their $ETHW, and then at the last moment before the trade is finalized, switching networks back to regular $ETH. If you’re in a hurry to catch a falling price, you may not notice the switch and end up selling off your $ETH instead. So if you are going to sell your $ETHW, the safest way to do so is via a centralized exchange (Binance, Bybit, etc). You can monitor the status of the ETHW project through their Twitter here. So far there appears to be at least some minor support for it.
I’m about a month away from Cryptoday #100! That’s well over a year of regular news and commentary for the Filipino crypto-enthusiast. What should I do to celebrate? 🧐
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