While the much-anticipated launch of the Merge has slipped to September, Ethereum is launching Grey Glacier.
Grey Glacier: Ethereum’s new hard fork ahead of the Merge
These are very delicate months for Ethereum, which is losing ground in the market more than other cryptocurrencies. According to many analysts, Ethereum’s declines which are greater than those of Bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies, are mainly due to the planned new upgrades, first and foremost The Merge, which will result in a transition from Proof of Work to Proof of Stake.
After conducting the last encouraging test for the Merge in June, it now seems ready for launch in September, contrary to predictions that had it ready by June. The new update is expected to change Ethereum’s consensus algorithm to the more sustainable and scalable PoS, instead of the current PoW.
While waiting for the Merge, another Ethereum hard fork, Grey Glacier, went live last Thursday and began operating at 6:54 AM. According to Ethereum client developer Nethermind and Tim Beiko of the Ethereum Foundation, it went live without causing any problems.
The fact that everything went well was by no means a given, because this hard fork involved splitting the blockchain in two, requiring all users to switch to the “new” blockchain and leave the old one, which was incompatible with the post-update chain and abandoned by the developers.
What was the goal of such an update
A company statement reads:
“The Gray Glacier network upgrade changes the parameters of the Ice Age/Difficulty Bomb, pushing it back by 700,000 blocks, or roughly 100 days. This has also been done in the Byzantium, Constantinople, Muir Glacier, London and Arrow Glacier network upgrades. No other changes are introduced as part of Gray Glacier”.
Thus, the main purpose of this update would be to prevent the difficulty bomb, which is expected to reach its completion in September with the arrival of the Merge. Furthermore, according to Ethereum.org, which is in charge of the development of the blockchain network, the “difficulty bomb” would gradually force an increase in the difficulty of performing PoW validations in order to motivate users to transition to Proof of Stake.
The new update would therefore function to move the difficulty bomb burst forward to late September, when the Merge is expected to be operational. It remains to be seen whether the developers will burst the “bomb” by forcing all users to migrate to PoS or whether, as some analysts think, they will let some time pass, waiting for markets to improve.