The second-largest cryptocurrency has been expanding at an impressive rate with developers actively working around improving the network. Just two months ago, the London hard fork (EIP-1559) was launched, changing the way miners were paid on the network.
On Wednesday, October 27th, the first beacon chain network upgrade, Altair will take place on the mainnet, in an event that will be live-streamed. Whereas the Altair Upgrade is not the merge, it is one among other smaller upgrades which will later be merged up in transitioning Ethereum from a Proof-of-Work to Proof Of Stake consensus, greatly improving its network capabilities.
The upgrade is expected to add some functionalities to the beacon chain. The beacon chain is a proof of stake chain that runs on the mainnet parallel to the Ethereum proof of work chain. According to Pooja Ranjan, “Altair might be the only upgrade to the beacon chain before Ethereum switches to POS”.
Currently, the beacon chain only allows users to stake Ethereum but cannot withdraw it. Whereas the Beacon chain has a lot of features, Altair is set to be one among other smaller upgrades which are aimed at preparing the mainnet for shard chain which makes transactions faster by creating 64 blockchains that work in harmony and this will make Ethereum 2.0 fully functional.
In anticipation of Wednesday’s upgrade which has been scheduled for epoch 74240 (Oct 27, 2021, 10:56:23am UTC), Danny Ryan who is leading the upgrade asked users to upgrade their nodes to avoid being penalized for being late, noting that the process only took about ten minutes.
The merge is set to fully transition Ethereum from proof-of-work to a proof-of-stake network, importantly changing how the Ethereum blockchain reaches consensus. The merge is also set to increase the network’s energy efficiency, improve validators, increase decentralization, improve security and draw a clear distinction between layer clients (Eth1) and consensus layer clients (Eth2).
Although the merge date is yet to be announced, sources predict an early 2022 date. Ethereum core devs and researchers recently successfully tested a demo of the local testnet in a meeting in Greece for the Amphora Interop event. The meeting which saw devs simulate how Ether will look like when it migrates into a POS network was a great success with the merge expected to upgrade Ethereum to new heights, making it more scalable, secure, and sustainable.