The activation of the Bellatrix upgrade on the Ethereum blockchain triggers the beginning of the Merge, which will likely be completed sometime around Sept. 13-16.
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 main net Execution layer.
The activation was scheduled for epoch 144896 and occurred at around 11:35 UTC.
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.
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 completion of the Merge will mark the end of Ethereum’s energy-intensive proof-of-work chapter. The next steps on Ethereum’s roadmap involve improving fees and transaction speeds via sharding and rollups.
The price of ether (ETH) was recently $1,665, up 6.24% over the past 24 hours.