It’s disappointing news for everyone who cares about Ethereum: the merge has been delayed for another three months. That means that proof of stake won’t go live until the fall and staking withdrawals won’t start until spring or summer 2023.
Ethereum’s transition to proof of stake was supposed to take place in June, but the latest news from the development team is that it will probably not happen until the fall. The delay has been confirmed by core developer Tim Beiko who recently tweeted, “It won't be June, but likely in the few months after. No firm date yet, but we're definitely in the final chapter of PoW on Ethereum.”
The delay might come as a surprise since the developers just completed the first-ever shadow fork. The shadow fork used a copy of the main network to test the switch from proof of work to proof of stake. The experimental fork was successful and the testnet was running with staking, leading many to believe that the merge was only a step away.
However, an additional three shadow forks revealed a series of bugs that need to be fixed before the merge. Ethereum developer Parathi Jayanathi goes into more detail about the bugs in this Tweet thread.
The merge is the foundation of Ethereum’s transition to a next-generation smart contract platform. For one thing, it has the potential to make Ethereum even more decentralized. After the merge anyone will be able to stake their coins via a decentralized staking service like Rocket Pool or Lido. That’s more egalitarian than mining, which is often only profitable for people who live in an area with abnormally cheap electricity.
Of course, there’s also a concern that staking services like Coinbase and Kraken could centralize the network. If a handful of exchanges control a majority of the staked ETH, that would be very bad for decentralization on Ethereum. That’s why it’s important to run your own node, or to stake through a decentralized service.
Many in the Ethereum community also claim that the merge will make the network more secure. Once proof of stake secures Ethereum, an attack would require someone to buy tens of billions of dollars worth of ETH tokens. Such a purchase would be prohibitively expensive for almost any organization, and even many governments.
What the merge won’t solve is Ethereum’s scaling problem. In fact Ethereum’s transition to proof of stake is expected to have almost no effect on how many transactions the network processes every second. Scaling Ethereum will only happen with layer two solutions like Arbitrum and Optimism.
We’re hopeful that this is the final delay before the merge goes live. Ethereum may be notorious for its delays, however, the developers always come through in the end.
This content is for informational purposes only and is not investment advice. You should consult a qualified licensed advisor before engaging in any transaction.