The Merge, probably the most important upgrade in Ethereum’s history, is just a couple of months away. It will eventually transform the Ethereum blockchain from a PoW platform to a PoS which is more eco-friendly, scalable, and secure.
What better time to talk about Ethereum upgrades than now that the market is mostly talking about The Merge and its implications for the Ethereum blockchain and its vast ecosystem of users and apps. Not to forget, it’s the 7th birthday of Ethereum as well!
So in this episode of the “Do You Speak Crypto?” series, let’s celebrate this year’s birthday by learning about some of the most important upgrades in Ethereum history so far!
Serenity is another name for the well-known Ethereum 2.0 upgrade which will gradually transform Ethereum’s blockchain to a Proof of Stake (PoS) network, improving its capacity and scalability.
Frontier took place in July 2015 and was the official launch of the Ethereum blockchain. It was intended for technical users and developers to start using the platform and building their applications and forming their communities.
In 2016, a DAO smart contract became victim of a hack, losing over 3.6 million ETHs. The majority of the Ethereum community decided to retrieve the stolen funds by reversing the blockchain’s history, however, some believed that this goes against the immutability nature of blockchain technology.
As a result, the DAO hard fork was performed, splitting the network into two different blockchains: Ethereum and Ethereum Classic.
Constantinople was one of the steps in Ethereum’s journey to Serenity. The upgrade was planned for mid-January 2019 but got pushed to the end of February due to some security issues.
5 Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) were integrated into the Ethereum blockchain in the Constantinople upgrade.
Istanbul was the last upgrade before Serenity’s implementation, paving the way for the network to get ready for its transition to a PoS blockchain. The upgrade took place in December 2019.
Glacier is a series of upgrades focusing on the Difficulty Bomb. Difficulty Bomb is a mechanism that increases the difficulty of mining blocks on the Ethereum blockchain to encourage miners to move to the PoS network.
Gray Glacier, Arrow Glacier, and Muir Glacier are all upgrades that delayed the Difficulty Bomb, pushing back the Ice Age. You can check its current status here.
Beacon Chain was the fundamental piece of Serenity and went live on December 1st, 2020 when the Deposit Contract reached its goal of 16384 validators.
At the moment, Beacon Chain is active as a separate chain, working alongside the Mainnet where all the actual work is taking place.
The London Upgrade was implemented to change the way transaction fees are calculated on the network. Another important aspect of this upgrade was the burning process in which a part of every transaction fee is burned.
Since its launch in August 2021, more than 2 million ETHs is burned and removed from circulation.
As per Ethereum’s website, The Merg is “the most significant upgrade in the history of Ethereum” which will literally merge the Beacon Chain and the Mainnet. It is scheduled for 19th September 2022 and will reduce the energy consumption of the Ethereum blockchain by almost 99.95%.
Right now, Shanghai Upgrade consists of 6 EIPs and is expected to go live 6-12 months following The Merge. After this upgrade, network validators will be able to withdraw their staked Ethers.
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