Ethereum’s Merge Now Has Tentative September Dates

Ethereum developers discussed some potential dates for the long-awaited event. Also: the Goerli testnet merge post-mortem.

AccessTimeIconAug 11, 2022 at 3:38 p.m. UTC
Updated Apr 9, 2024 at 11:33 p.m. UTC

It now looks even more likely the major Ethereum overhaul known as the Merge will take place in September.

Ethereum developers discussed potential dates for the long-awaited Merge, when the Ethereum blockchain makes its move to proof-of-stake from proof-of-work, during a Consensus Layer call Thursday.

A document circulated among Ethereum developers during the call that showed there could be several scenarios for when the Merge on the Ethereum mainnet might occur. Likely dates include Sept. 15, 16 or 20.

Most of the developers agreed they would aim to have the Bellatrix upgrade live around Sept. 6, 2022. Bellatrix is the name of the upgrade that will kick off the process of the Merge and set everything in motion.

There will be a 14-day period between the Bellatrix upgrade and the mainnet Merge. That's the length of time that will pass before the network reaches a specific total terminal difficulty (TTD) which, in turn, will activate the Merge. The tentative TTD mark is 58,750,000,000,000,000,000,000. Nothing is final, however, until it’s codified in a client release.

The first scenario described in the document began with a Bellatrix upgrade on Sept. 1, with the Merge happening two weeks later on (or around) Sept. 15. The second scenario would see Bellatrix upgraded on Sept. 6, with the Merge happening on (or around) Sept. 20. Given that the preferred Bellatrix upgrade date is Sept. 6, the second scenario is more likely.

But there was discussion about reaching a compromise among developers and speeding up the hashrate, meaning that if Bellatrix takes effect on Sept. 6, the Merge could happen around Sept. 16. Developers agreed that they don’t want the Merge to happen on a weekend, so they will now think it over and re-discuss these dates and estimations next week on their All-Core Developers call.

Revisiting the Goerli testnet merge

At the beginning of the call, developers briefly went over the Goerli testnet merge that occurred early Thursday morning at 01:45 UTC. Developers agreed that it was a successful merge and that the network is healthy, even though the participation rate did drop briefly to 70%; it has since gone back up. Ethereum developer, Parithosh Jayanthi, told CoinDesk why there was a drop in participation:

“The roughly 15%-16% drop was due to configuration issues. The rest was in a fork due to two terminal blocks.” Parithosh explained that the fork was able to resolve itself after about 128 slots, due to a mode called the optimistic sync mode, which allows for the chain to sync up. “The other % came back online after the config issue was fixed. Now we’re at 84%.” Parithosh added.

For context, since December 2020 Ethereum has been testing transitions to proof-of-stake. Goerli was the last of three public testnets to run through its own merge "dress rehearsal" successfully. The Merge will make Ethereum more energy efficient, as the proof-of-stake protocol reduces energy consumption by 99.95%. This will not be the last project for Ethereum. Following the Merge, Ethereum will tackle scalability issues.


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Margaux Nijkerk

Margaux Nijkerk reports on the Ethereum protocol and L2s. A graduate of Johns Hopkins and Emory universities, she has a masters in International Affairs & Economics. She holds a small amount of ETH and other altcoins.