Ethereum Mainstay Hudson Jameson on What Makes the Merge Monumental

The network’s transition to proof-of-stake is like changing the engine of a moving car.

AccessTimeIconSep 14, 2022 at 9:44 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 3:51 p.m. UTC
AccessTimeIconSep 14, 2022 at 9:44 p.m. UTCUpdated May 11, 2023 at 3:51 p.m. UTCLayer 2
AccessTimeIconSep 14, 2022 at 9:44 p.m. UTCUpdated May 11, 2023 at 3:51 p.m. UTCLayer 2

Today is a special day for Ethereum. I want to elaborate on why I am personally super-excited and why it is so monumental. The Merge represents a pinnacle of collaboration and engineering mastery across dozens of teams and hundreds of people.

The transition from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake is in Ethereum’s blood, with plans to change the consensus algorithm discussed since before Ethereum’s launch. Over the years there have been many iterations of what Ethereum’s proof-of-stake will look like. Where we are today is a culmination of those efforts and why so many are celebrating The Merge.

Hudson Jameson is an active Ethereum community member, founder of the Ethereum Cat Herders group and former Ethereum Foundation employee. A version of this post originally published on Twitter.

An overlooked part of The Merge is Ethereum’s unique approach to a multi-client ecosystem. This means that there are multiple blockchain clients from different teams in different programming languages that minimize the possibility of the entire blockchain halting if a bug is found in one or more clients.

This is in contrast with nearly every other cryptocurrency out there that would be in big trouble if a chain-stopping exploit was found in their singular client.

Ethereum’s transition to proof-of-stake is like changing the engine of a moving car, where the car is the execution layer (EL) that processes the data and transactions and the engine is the consensus layer (CL) that determines how the transactions are built into blocks to make the chain. Because of this, Ethereum has execution clients (currently a choice of four) and consensus clients (currently a choice of five) that can be mixed and matched to enable security of the chain.

Every client is built by a different organization/team and only one of the clients is built by a team embedded in the Ethereum Foundation, which speaks to the decentralized nature of development on Ethereum.

By exploring Ethereum-related GitHub repositories and posts you can see the amount of time spent coordinating all of these teams to coalesce under one specification and vision for Ethereum’s future.

I believe in Ethereum because it has a soul. It has a community that believes in the tenants of decentralization and censorship resistance of the blockchain.

The generalized programmability of Ethereum allows for many different people from various walks of life to join to contribute to their idea for a decentralized application.

On top of all of that, Ethereum builders don’t take themselves too seriously and have a fun time while changing the world. The Merge is a day for celebration for all of Ethereum and especially the builders who got us to where we are today.

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Hudson Jameson was a core developer liason at the Ethereum Foundation.