The Merge, the most anticipated crypto event of the year, finally has an official date: Sept. 6, along with an estimated time of 7:34 a.m. ET, according to an update on the official Ethereum Foundation blog.
The announcement initiates a countdown to the long-anticipated transition in the Ethereum blockchain from the greenhouse-gas-spewing proof-of-work protocol, to relatively greener proof-of-stake. At its inception this changeover called for a giant, ambitious change in Ethereum’s computerized infrastructure — specifically the combining of the Ethereum Mainnet with the Beacon Chain, which allows for ETH transactions and Ethereum-based NFT verifications to happen via the new protocol.
That theoretical giant change is finally becoming a reality in, as of this writing, about 12 days and 19 hours.
While there are many issues at play here, the main takeaway of The Merge is that one of the two major cryptocurrencies (the one that isn’t Bitcoin) will shed most of its well-earned reputation for lol-nothing-matters eco-destruction, as will most NFTs. This is because the new proof-of-stake model, unlike proof-of-work, doesn’t involve powerful GPUs endlessly performing hellacious mathematical computations by sucking down mass quantities of dirty grid energy. Just what does proof of stake involve? It’s complicated, but you can read more about it here.
The event on Sept. 6 is actually just the start of the operation, which begins with an upgrade called “Bellatrix” occurring on the new blockchain, after which, important Merge-related activities (an operation known as The Kiln testnet) will cease. A second update, called Paris, will occur a few days later, sometime between Sept. 10 and Sept. 20.
Then, if all goes according to plan, most people using the Ethereum blockchain will be automatically using the new system without having to change anything.
And the Ethereum Foundation really wants everything to go according to plan. Those who can find merge-related bugs are being offered four times the usual amount in “bug bounties” according to the blog post, meaning “critical” vulnerabilities can earn eagle-eyed coders up to $1 million.