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The Merge

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The Ethereum Merge meaning and explanation 📖

The network upgrade of Ethereum from Proof of Work (POW) to Proof of Stake (POS) consensus mechanism is known as The Merge or the Ethereum Merge 2.0.

The Merge, which happened in September 2022, is considered to be one of the biggest events in the blockchain world in recent times. It had been a long time coming.

Why did it take so long?

Vitalik Buterin and other Ethereum core members had planned the merge for a long time but it was delayed for more than 6 years. This was due to engineering complexities and billions of dollars at risk. Once it was achieved, though, it was considered a massive milestone in blockchain history.

The Merge was the joining of Ethereum’s already established execution layer with its new Proof of Stake consensus layer which is called The Beacon Chain.

It happened in a two-step process called (1) Bellatrix and (2) Paris.

Bellatrix was the process of network update in the consensus layer while Paris was the execution layer that helped transition from Proof of Work (POW) to Proof of Stake (POS) consensus mechanism.

Some amazing benefits of the Ethereum merge

  • It will increase the efficiency of the Ethereum Blockchain and POS will help decrease energy consumption of the Ethereum network.
  • In POW, it was costly for individuals to stake their ETH as it used to include the purchase of hardware and power supply. The POS mechanism will reduce this barrier and invite more individuals to take stake their ETH and secure the network. 

The Merge will reduce worldwide electricity consumption by 0.2%

Vitalik Buterin, on the benefits of the Ethereum Merge

The transition not only reduces energy consumption and scalability but also provides security to the Ethereum Network.

Justin Drake, an Ethereum researcher stated the following while talking about security in the POS consensus mechanism,

The other interesting aspect of the Ethereum merge is that with Proof of Stake if we do suffer a 51% attack, we can precisely identify the attacker and eject them from the system. More than that, we can penalize them, including by destroying all their stake. And if they want to do a second attack, they have to rebuy.

So far, the Ethereum Merge has been lauded as a welcome change and has been embraced & celebrated by the blockchain community around the world.

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