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Ethereum Merge “Dress Rehearsal” on Ropsten, Reorg causes hiccup


Ethereum is continuing to lay the groundwork for its most significant project yet, dubbed the Merge. The Merge will transition the network from a proof of work format to a proof of stake format. A major milestone in the Merge development was met as the launch of the Beacon chain took place on the Ethereum test network, Ropsten. 

Beacon is a chain that runs parallel with the current Ethereum. It is a proof of stake network and is serving as a practice area for Ethereum’s transition. The two chains will form a merge, becoming a single PoS network. 

Developers are now able to use Ropsten, Ethereum’s oldest PoW testnet to test the new features and the smart contracts. Core developer, Tim Beiko, issued several tweets announcing the Ropsten launch as well as a guide on the network’s tools. 

Ropsten is also underway for a merge that will take place in order to gauge the problems before the mainnet merges. 

The Ehtereum merge is not a new plan, development having begun in 2019. Despite its forward momentum in recent weeks, the beacon chain had a hiccup. A reorg event occurred last week over 7 of the networks chains. Fortunately, the event did not have any serious consequences. 

Reorgs happen when a set of network miners/validators are not in unison about the sequence of blocks added to the blockchain. This causes two separate, but parallel chains to form. For this instance, some validators were working with updated software, allowing them to process blocks much quicker than others, causing the split in the network. 

The Ethereum reorg took place on the Beacon chain. While users can stake ETH to become validators on the Beacon Chain, transactions will not be processed until the Merge happens. That is why there were no significant consequences for this reorg event. The validators were able to converge on one chain.

Blockchains actively try to avoid reorgs for their security risks. And while nothing significant happened, this was Ethereum’s longest reorg event in years. There is no indication that the reorg will have long term effects. 

Nevertheless, this shows just what’s on the line if the Merge does not happen successfully.

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