The Ethereum community debates when the ‘Merge’ will happen

Ethereum Protocol Developer Tim Beiko said earlier in the week that the Merge will not happen in June, as previously stated.

Persistent delays have plagued Ethereum’s transition to a Proof-of-Stake protocol. Users voice concerns that each setback is an opportunity for rival layer 1s to catch up.

However, the founder of website Week in Ethereum News, Evan Van Ness, said the Merge had not been delayed and will happen soon, albeit slightly off schedule. He clarified that the setback resulted from the complexity of “turning off PoW.”

I’m getting lots of DMs “omg the merge is delayed!!!!1!one!!” so I’m going to write a little thread about Ethereum turning off PoW

tldr: the Merge is not delayed.

— Evan Van Ness (@evan_van_ness) April 14, 2022

Having heard similar assurances in the past, is Van Ness’ explanation yet another indefensible excuse?

Delays to ETH 2.0 are no longer surprising

Ethereum runs its current Proof-of-Work (PoW) chain in tandem with a Proof-of-Stake chain. The Merge refers to a “merging” of the chains that will fully depreciate the PoW chain.

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin released a new path to Ethereum 2.0 — or ConsenSys layer as it should be referred to — in December 2021. It consists of fives stages, in chronological/completion order from left to right; they are the merge, the surge, the verge, the purge, and the splurge.

With the merge being the first of five stages, the ConsenSys layer has a long way to go before completion.

Pre-new path, the previous first stage — called Phase 0 — was rolling out the Beacon Chain, which was beset with delays and eventually shipped in December 2020. This upgrade laid the foundation for the entire transition to PoS and introduced native staking.

Delays to the ConsenSys layer are so commonplace and expected the issue has become a longstanding meme within crypto circles.

Wait, the Ethereum Merge is not delayed, is it?

Van Ness claims the Merge was not delayed since it never had an exact date. Instead, he explained that the timing comes down to coordinating The Merge with “the bomb.”

The bomb refers to a process that makes mining increasingly difficult, making it progressively unprofitable over time. Eventually, this will result in ETH becoming unmineable.

It started with this @TimBeiko tweet saying the Merge won’t happen in June.

Why not? The reason is that “the bomb” (that increases mining difficulty to ratchet up block times) was expected in June, but is coming later

the goal has always been to do it before the bomb pic.twitter.com/tGZkVMURhH

— Evan Van Ness (@evan_van_ness) April 14, 2022

Van Ness adds that the bomb is difficult to predict since it is based on hashrate and price, which are volatile. Although the Merge won’t happen in June, Van Ness says the delay will be a couple of weeks.

His claims contrast with rumors that the Merge won’t be here until late this year or early 2023. The source of this rumor was a pool operator who “reviewed the code” and gave a reasoned guesstimate based on that.

Van Ness said it is important not to rush something as important as the Merge.

CORRECTION: Article updated on April, 15, 2022, 18:50 GMT to remove Evan Van Ness’ title as “ConsenSys Member”, as well as all related to him & the organization.

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