Speculation is beginning to circulate that the final merge of Ethereum’s blockchain with the new Beacon Chain may not happen in August.
Ethereum’s move to PoS may be delayed beyond August
Beacon Chain is Ethereum’s new PoS-based blockchain, so the final Merge will effectively replace Ethereum’s consensus algorithm by moving it from the current Proof-of-Work to Proof-of-Stake.
The final date has not yet been set, but it was Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin who said that if there are no hiccups the Merge could very well take place in August.
Buterin speculated this last month during the ETH Shanghai Web 3.0 Developer Summit, saying:
“If there are no problems, then the Merge will happen in august”.
In fact, there have been some minor problems up to now, to the extent that the first date assumed at the start, June 2022, has been postponed. However after the successful test merge on Ethereum’s most important testnet, Ropsten, there may no longer be any major problems that require additional time to be addressed and resolved.
Nonetheless, there are still some tests to be completed, first and foremost the one on the new major testnet, Sepolia. This test is scheduled for early July, and in theory should then be followed by yet another test, that on the other testnet Goerli.
Some are speculating that if the test on Goerli were to take place in August, the month following the one on Sepolia, the Merge could slip to September.
So although the exact date has not yet been set, right now the main hypothesis seems to be to do the Merge in August, in case there are no more hiccups. Should there still be some unforeseen problems, however, or a decision is made to wait for the final results of further testing, it could be set for September.
The comments of founder Vitalik Buterin and the additional testing before the Merge
Buterin himself admitted that some problems may still exist, and that therefore there is also the possibility of further delay ahead, such that he speculates that the Merge may be pushed to September or even October in this case.
It is worth noting, however, that the difficulty bomb, which will serve to disincentivize the continuation of mining on the old PoW-based blockchain, was also recently postponed to October. This makes it somewhat less likely that the Merge will go ahead as early as August.
In fact, Beacon Chain is actually a different blockchain than the one in use now, so to avoid confusion it will be necessary to convince miners to stop adding blocks to the new blockchain once the new one is kicked off with the Merge. Theoretically, the Merge and the difficulty bomb should happen at the same time, or within a short distance of each other, so the scheduling of the difficulty bomb can give a good indication of when the Merge might happen.
Most likely, however, things will be significantly clearer once the Sepolia test is completed, around mid-July. The outcome of this last major test could give very significant indications of what the actual timing of the Merge will be.