The ETH Merge Has Finally Been Successfully Completed. What is next?
The Merger of Ethereum has finally taken place — the most significant update to Merge has been released on September 15th, moving ETH to the environmentally friendly Proof-of-Stake model (previously, the Proof-of-Work model was used).
The Merge has been in preparation for six years, considered by many to be a milestone in the cryptocurrency’s history because of its potential material and ideological implications. This key milestone could also boost investor confidence and give the market much-needed optimism after months of volatility caused by inflation and rising interest rates.
So, what’s next?
The Surge, The Verge, The Purge, and The Splurge are the next steps for the scaling and security of the Ethereum blockchain.
In 2023, Ethereum will implement sharding, an essential step in improving the scalability of the blockchain’s ability to store and access data.
Sharding segments the blockchain by breaking up data in the identical blockchain, creating multiple mini-blockchains. Implementing sharding is much easier when the protocol moves to Proof-of-stake. Ethereum will then physically divide the system into 64 linked databases. By doing so, the individual segments will be able to hold more data.
Sharding is a computer science concept that scales applications so they can support more data.
The next phase will introduce Verkle trees, which are also designed to solve the scalability problem. According to Buterin, Verkle trees are “a powerful update to Merkle Proofs, allowing for much smaller proofs”. The so-called Verge will optimize storage and reduce the size of nodes. Ultimately, it will make Ethereum more scalable.
Merkle’s trees aim to create strong encryption by converting blocks of information into long chains of code. The newest blocks of information, or leaves, are grouped together to form branches. It then traces a string of numbers, known as the Merkle root, which contains all the previous information. This method was first explored in the Bitcoin blockchain and then adapted for Ethereum.
The Purge + Splurge
The Purge aims to reduce the amount of backup historical data. Reducing the historical data will make the blockchain validation process more efficient for validators under the new Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism. This should minimize network congestion and allow many more transactions to be processed on the blockchain. By the end of this phase, Ethereum will be able to process 100,000 transactions per second.
Once all the previous parts come together, Buterin will launch Splurge. Splurge’s job is to ensure that the network runs smoothly and that protocol updates in the previous sections do not cause problems. After that, the hard work of making Ethereum more scalable will be completed.
The Future is full of updates
The final stage is still far over the horizon; as with all technological developments, there are bound to be challenges.. However, given that The Merge has taken much longer than expected when it finally arrives, The Splurge will mark another well-deserved celebration for the Ethereum network.
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