Ethereum developers have doubled down on a mid-September target for the Merge during a conference call held on Thursday.
The Merge is Ethereum’s highly anticipated transition from a proof-of-work to a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism. It’s expected to slash the blockchain’s energy use and, therefore, carbon emissions, by as much as 99%, addressing one of the primary critiques of the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization.
While discussing a series of steps that must be taken before the Merge, the Ethereum Foundation’s Tim Beiko, who organizes meetings of the network’s core developers, suggested a target date of September 19. No objections were raised to the suggested timeline.
The date is meant to be a roadmap, rather than a hard deadline, according to one prominent Ethereum developer.
“This merge timeline isn’t final, but it’s extremely exciting to see it coming together,” superphiz.eth tweeted Thursday. “Please regard this as a planning timeline and look out for official announcements!”
Observers have expected a mid-September Merge for weeks. But Thursday’s discussion marks the latest attempt to set a realistic timeline for the oft-delayed upgrade.
Difficulty Bomb Delayed
Last month, the developers decided to delay Ethereum’s “difficulty bomb” in an acknowledgement that the Merge wouldn’t happen before mid-September. The difficulty bomb is an update built into the protocol that will significantly increase the complexity of PoW calculations, and therefore, the time required to process transactions – a kind of self-destruct mechanism meant to incentivize the transition to proof-of-stake.
During a debate over delaying the difficulty bomb, some developers suggested the team publicly commit to a hard deadline, arguing there was a lack of urgency in abandoning the energy-intensive proof-of-work model.
“There are very real costs associated with not doing the merge: 130,000 tons of carbon dioxide every day,” developer Ben Edgington said. “It’s nearly a million tons a week. Every week we twiddle our thumbs, that’s a megaton of carbon dioxide we´re emitting.”
At the time, Beiko objected to the notion that developers didn’t feel pressure to complete the Merge.
“It’s worth noting [that] on the last call, and privately to me, client teams have mentioned they do feel pretty stressed and urgent,” he said. “Too much pressure just pushes teams to burn out or make worse decisions, and that’s not the situation we want to be in.”
After the successful merges of the Ropsten and Sepolia testnets, the Goerli testnet’s transition to proof-of-stake is planned for Aug. 11. This will mark the final step before the upgrade is carried out on Ethereum’s mainnet.