Ethereum Merge Looks Toward Q3 Rollout After Another Delay

The Ethereum (ETH-USD) network is a storied blockchain platform as well as one of the largest. But, even as the standard for layer-1 decentralize app (dapp) networks, it’s not without its drawbacks. Energy consumption, long settlement times and high gas fees plague ETH. Now, while developers seek to address these issues, they are exposing a lack of timeliness as another drawback. Today, the Ethereum Merge upgrade is seeing yet another delay.

A stack of ethereum coins
Source: shutterstock

Ethereum is the de facto second-in-command crypto behind Bitcoin (BTC-USD), amassing over $3,000 in value since launching in 2015. But, while ETH is second overall by market capitalization, it’s undeniably first overall in product offering. That’s because Ethereum plays host to thousands of dapps, making it the largest layer-1 in the world. Moreover, its technologies — like the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) software — have become industry standard. Countless other layer-1s use EVM, even as competitors.

In the last few years, however, it has become quite apparent that the network leaves something to be desired. For example, it’s not capable of handling many transactions at all, with a throughput of less than 100 transactions per second (tps). With roughly 500,000 active users now, this low throughput doesn’t cut it. Thousands of transactions are made every hour and users often have to settle for high gas fees and slow settlement times to compensate for the bottlenecking.

In the late 2010s, ETH developers began to think up ways to alleviate these woes. They came up with the Ethereum Merge. Two years since that plan was first set in motion, it looked like users would finally see the streamlined Ethereum network this summer. Unfortunately, though, there has been a shift in plans thanks to yet another delay.

Ethereum Merge Sees Delay Until Q3

In December 2020, developers launched the Beacon Chain. This chain runs parallel to the Ethereum chain and it contains all of the solutions to Ethereum’s problems. Through the Ethereum Merge, these two chains will be morphed together into a completely revamped ETH network.

Most notably, when the Merge occurs, Ethereum will move from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake. This will render mining obsolete, much to the chagrin of miners who have maintained steady passive income through ETH hashing.

Still, while the upgrade is so close, it also seems so far away. It has been well over a year since the launch of the Beacon Chain and developers have been set on a summer 2022 rollout. The most recent timeline came after several delays in 2020. Today marks yet another rescheduling, however. The Merge is now planned for Q3.

This news comes just days after the successful implementation of a proof-of-stake “shadow fork.” The fork exists as a sort of test for the network and its ability to handle proof-of-stake transactions. Still, that positive signal was not enough to keep things on schedule.

The Merge won’t be happening as soon as developers had hoped. However, they also advise investors against buying mining equipment to capitalize on the delay. Developer Tim Beiko says the network is most certainly “in the final chapter of [proof-of-work].”

On the date of publication, Brenden Rearick did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the Publishing Guidelines.

Brenden Rearick is a Financial News Writer for InvestorPlace’s Today’s Market team. He mainly covers digital assets and tech stocks, with a focus on crypto regulation and DeFi.

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