The Ethereum merger is here – what’s next? – Decrypt | Jewelry Dukan

After years of anticipation, the Fusion is here. Early Thursday morning, Ethereum’s groundbreaking transition to Proof of Stake went off with a bang.

With tens of billions of dollars in digital assets at stake and zero room for error, the Ethereum merger consumed the focus and energy of the network’s elite cadre of core developers for nearly half a decade.

With this gargantuan feat of engineering now in the bag, what’s next for Ethereum?

For the next two to three weeks, Ethereum’s core developers will not hold group meetings and will not make collective decisions about the future of the network. However, this respite from high-octane decision-making will be short-lived.

Within the next month, the network’s core developers must collectively determine what features they want to include in Ethereum’s next upgrade, Shanghai. Group opinions are divided. And once again, the decision will have multi-billion dollar ramifications.

“A lot of people have a lot of things they want to get into [Shanghai]but there is still no consensus on what will actually make it happen,” said Ethereum Core developer Micah Zoltu decrypt.

Probably the most urgent feature being considered for inclusion in the Shanghai upgrade is the ability for Ethereum validators to withdraw staked ETH.

The merger just turned Ethereum into a Proof of Stake Mechanism; As of today, all transactions on the Ethereum network will not be carried out by energy-intensive “miners but by individuals and organizations that have deposited or staked significant amounts of ETH. ETH staking will allow these entities to generate and accumulate new ETH as a reward for demonstrating the computing power needed to validate transactions and secure the network.

For now, however, ETH can only be deposited into Ethereum’s staking mechanism. It cannot be withdrawn. That means the ETH worth over $21 billion that is currently staked on the network will remain stuck there until Ethereum developers add a withdrawal feature.

Understandably, retreatability is high on the list of priorities for almost every core developer for the Shanghai upgrade.

“I would say that’s definitely,” said Ethereum Core developer Marius Van Der Wijden decryptin regards to the likelihood that core developers will agree that the staked ETH pullback should be addressed by Shanghai.

What else will be included in the upgrade is less clear.

What’s next for Ethereum after staking?

“Top priorities differ from person to person. Everyone has a different list. What is ‘oppressive’ is also very subjective and not agreed upon,” Zoltu said.

The next most likely set of features to be included in Shanghai are updates to the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), the developer-centric mechanism underlying Ethereum that defines the rules for how blocks interact on the network. No updates have been made to the EVM for over two years, partly because including these improvements in the merge would have been a massive headache for developers.

“Any additional complexity of the merge would have multiplied the testing tenfold and made it even more difficult,” said Van Der Wijden.

Another long-rumored Ethereum feature that has garnered a lot of interest is so-called proto-thanksharding, which has to do with scalability technology roll up.

Rollups are tools that address the slow speed and exorbitant gas fees of the Ethereum mainnet Grouping of transaction collections into one unit presented to the Ethereum blockchain as a single transaction.

proto-thanksharding would serve as a preliminary version of Danksharding, a process in which large amounts of data are verified for rollups by sampling only small chunks of data. Essentially, the update would dramatically increase the speed and ease with which massive amounts of data could be verified on Ethereum Layer 2 networks how optimism and arbitration.

“This will reduce the amount of gas consumed by on-chain rollups and allow rollups to scale heavily and significantly reduce their transaction costs,” said Van Der Wijden.

While the prospect of Danksharding is immensely attractive to Layer 2 users, who would likely see the upgrade reduce both gas fees and transaction times, the development would also come at a price.

The more complicated the collection of features included in Shanghai, the more complex and, most importantly, delayed the upgrade.

“Some of the more research-oriented people don’t really think that all of this needs to be implemented and tested,” said Van Der Wijden. “If we have ten changes [in Shanghai], then you need to test each change individually, but you also need to test how those changes interact with each other. The amount of testing you need to do grows exponentially with the number of features you include in an upgrade.”

There is no estimate yet of how long implementation in Shanghai will take. However, Van Der Wijden is confident that the upgrade will happen within the next year. B

But as more Ethereum users and developers target other ambitious and much-needed updates to the network, including proto-thanksharding, that date will be pushed further.

By that time, $21 billion will remain trapped in the ether and counting.

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