Ethereum’s new Proof-of-Stake based blockchain, Beacon Chain, is experiencing some problems.
The Beacon Chain that will introduce PoS on Ethereum is experiencing some problems
As many as seven consecutive blocks of epoch 121471, between the number 3887075 and 3887081, appear to be forked.
These are blocks that were created yesterday and were in fact deleted because they were replaced by other competing blocks.
The Ethereum beacon chain experienced a 7-block deep reorg ~2.5h ago. This shows that the current attestation strategy of nodes should be reconsidered to hopefully result in a more stable chain! (proposals already exist) pic.twitter.com/BkQrKuUlw1
— Martin Köppelmann 🇺🇦 (@koeppelmann) May 25, 2022
The real problem is that this could be the result of a hostile attack by a resource-intensive block validator, or a bug.
The Beacon Chain is still de facto in the testing phase, as all transactions in ETH or any other Ethereum-based token or NFT are still recorded on the old Proof-of-Work based blockchain, but yesterday’s problem could slow down the Merge.
So far, all tests had been successful, so much so that the first test Merge between the new PoS-based blockchain and one of the older PoW-based blockchains of the main testnet is scheduled to take place on 8 June.
Developers working on Ethereum’s transition from PoW to PoS claim that yesterday’s seven-block problem was due to special circumstances and not to some serious security issue or fundamental flaw in the new protocol.
However, these kinds of events are capable of generating some fear, especially at a time of strong negative sentiment such as this.
Ethereum’s transition from PoW to PoS will be momentous, and it is very important that it is done well without any major hiccups. This is why yesterday’s problem could also suggest yet another postponement, as these things should not happen when Beacon Chain is in production.
Will the final merge be postponed?
Core Ethereum developer Preston Van Loon speculates that the seven-block fork is not necessarily something harmful either, and Vitalik Buterin believes this could be a ‘good hypothesis’.
In this case, client teams have been scrambling to understand the situation so they can figure out what to fix for the last couple of hours! Already some good hypotheses:https://t.co/VbgjWloK8c
— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) May 25, 2022
Developers are already looking for a possible solution.
Gnosis co-founder Martin Köppelmann argues that the current node attestation strategy should be reconsidered in order to make the new blockchain more stable, and that there are already some proposals to solve these problems.
It is worth noting that the price of ETH yesterday did not seem to react at the time this news broke, but reacted today by suddenly falling from $1,927 to $1,836, thus registering a loss of 6.6% in the last 24 hours.
It is not necessarily the case that yesterday’s news of the Beacon Chain’s reorg is the cause of this sudden drop, which occurred in less than an hour, but it is entirely possible that it was generated by the concerns about it, which have spread especially today.
In fact, if it were to be necessary at this point to rework the new protocol to solve the problem, the Merge scheduled for August could slip by a few months.