The final stage before the Ethereum Merge was successfully completed at 7:35 am ET. The Bellatrix hard fork, the last crucial upgrade before Ethereum transitions from proof-of-work (PoW) to proof-of-stake (PoS), has now been activated.
The goal of the Bellatrix upgrade is to ensure that validators are generating up-to-date Beacon Chain blocks, which will seed the codebase ahead of the Merge. With that, the “first step” in the Ethereum “merge” activation procedure has begun.
The upgrade to the Bellatrix protocol isn’t complete, and the proof-of-stake transition isn’t finished yet. However, it’s essential because it gets the Beacon Chain ready for the merger and starts the whole process in motion.
Bellatrix hard fork explained
At present, each Ethereum node exists on two different layers – the proof-of-work layer (currently the main network) and the consensus layer (C layer). The proposed Merge would see these two layers combined into a transition to a PoS-based system.
The Bellatrix upgrade aims to enable validators to produce updated Beacon Blocks containing the code for merging the two layers. These layers communicate with each other through an Application Programming Interface engine.
The upgrade is expected to take a few weeks, meaning that there will be a lot of updating and syncing across the network. As of now, almost 73% of the nodes are said to be “merge-ready,” which means they’re ready to combine.
The Ethereum Epoch’s value is projected to rise to 144,896 on the proof-of-stake chain before the final Merge, which is expected to take place between September 10 and 20. According to the Ethereum Foundation, it takes one epoch to mine 30,000 blocks.
According to the release schedule, the Merge will occur in the so-called “Paris” upgrade. It’s a part of the transition at the execution layer, and it will be activated by Terminal Total Difficulty (TTD) of 58750000000000000000000. This is expected to happen between September 13th and 15th.
If the execution layer surpasses this TTD, then the following block will be created by a validator on the Beacon Chain. The Merge is almost finished; as soon as the Beacon Chain finalizes the current block, it will be considered complete. If everything goes according to plan, this should happen 13 minutes after (or 2 epochs) the first post-TTD block is created.
What investors should expect if the Merge goes off without a hitch
According to Adrian Sutton, the lead blockchain protocol engineer at ConsenSys, about 5% of the Beacon Chain’s validating nodes failed to update in time. However, that has no significant influence on the network and will be quickly rectified.
Ethereum developers will be on the lookout for signs of trouble with Bellatrix, hoping that a smooth upgrade occurs. According to the report, 73.5 percent of all node operators were Merge ready before the Bellatrix upgrade, with 26.5 percent still needing to update their clients. Ethereum warned that a non-upgraded client would sync to the pre-fork blockchain.
Suppose the Ethereum network hashrate stays at its current level. In that case, the next block is expected to be mined at around 9:00 pm on Wednesday, Sept. 14. Ether has increased 7.2% in price over the past day, outpacing bitcoin’s growth by approximately 6%, according to trading data. In the same period, Lido Finance’s staked Ether product, represented by Staked Ether Lido Staked Ether, has grown 6%.
Furthermore, this year’s Merge is the most anticipated event in the crypto industry, and it will be the most significant transition for Ethereum. According to predictions by the Ethereum Foundation, Ethereum will consume far less energy when utilizing its new proof-of-stake approach, which is expected to reduce consumption by 99.95 percent.
If the Ethereum upgrade goes as planned, investors can expect to pay little to no gas fees for transactions. However, this cannot be confirmed until after the network is live. The cryptocurrency industry has attracted its fair share of criticism for being a danger to the environment.
Nonetheless, things are changing for the better, as energy-efficient Merge makes it simple to start transactions. The Ethereum Merge is regarded as a technological and environmental breakthrough that instills confidence in the sector.