Core Ethereum developer, Tim Beiko outlined a set of suggestions and expectations for the upcoming merge for the app and protocol devs on Ethereum.
He encouraged a testing phase for all protocol devs, in order to ensure that everything works properly. “Run stuff, if something is unclear or broken, leave a comment,” Beiko said.
Beiko notes the complexity of the Merge which will involve the switching of Ethereum’s proof of work (PoW) system to a proof of stake (PoS). The Merge is expected to take place this year, at which time its PoS will be called the “Consensus Layer.”
So far, testing on the updated network has been spent mainly to ensure the prevention of cross-client issues and measuring the integrity of applications after the Merge. Beiko goes on to note that because the application layer of the network has been mainly untouched by the Merge, most if not all applications will be safe. “Protocol layer testing != application level testing. Client + protocol testing teams focus mostly on changes to the protocol not causing cross-client issues or breaking existing applications.”
Beiko makes note of two significant changes to the utilization of smart contracts with the Merge. Beacon randomness will change and block times will shorten from 13 seconds per block to 12 seconds per block. He also remains confident in the progress despite the Merge’s delays. “Aside from cross-client testing and these two edge cases, the biggest risk of disruption is in ‘tooling and infra pipelines.’”
“At any point, if we find issues, we’ll obviously take the time to fix + address them before moving forward. Only then will we think about moving mainnet to proof of stake,” said Beiko. ETH investors can remain confident as well because coins will not be dumped as the Merge takes place. The ETH staked on the Beacon Chain cannot be unlocked unless there is an upgrade after the Merge happens. This includes gains from staked coins.
Beacon Chain currently has a total of 12.6 million staked ETH and was one of the first attempts at an Ethereum PoS network.