The Ethereum blockchain’s Merge is officially underway and will likely kick in sometime between Sept. 13-16. The Bellatrix upgrade – the network's final "hard fork" before the Merge – was activated on Tuesday, marking the beginning of Ethereum’s long-awaited transition from proof-of-work (PoW) to proof-of-stake (PoS).
- The Bellatrix upgrade prepares Ethereum's PoS Beacon Chain – also called its Consensus layer – for a Merge with Ethereum's mainnet Execution layer.
- The Terminal Total Difficulty (TTD) value triggering the Merge has been set at 58,750,000,000,000,000,000,000. This number, which will represent the cumulative difficulty of all mined Ethereum blocks, is expected to be reached somewhere between Sept. 13-16. Predictions right now are that it will happen around Sept. 15.
- When the TTD number is reached, the network will merge its Execution layer with the new PoS Consensus layer, allowing the chain to continue on with a new system for issuing and authenticating blocks of transactions.
- According to the Ethereum Foundation, a non-profit organization funding Ethereum ecosystem development, the Merge will cut the network's energy usage by 99.95% and set the stage for further improvements to its core infrastructure.
- At the point of the Merge, the difficulty level on Ethereum's PoW network will increase to the point where mining new blocks will no longer be possible.
- The Merge has been a long time coming, and the Beacon Chain was first introduced in December 2020.
- Last month, Ethereum merged its Goerli test network (testnet) from PoW to PoS – marking the third and final dress rehearsal for a mainnet Merge.
- The price of ether (ETH) was recently $1,665, up 6.24% over the past 24 hours.
Read more: Ethereum After the Merge: What Comes Next?
Update (15:00 UTC): Adds information throughout.
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