Ethereum: Sepolia Testnet Merge to go live after successful hardfork

Lavina Daryanani

The Gray Glacier hardfork went live on Ethereum on Thursday. The said upgrade introduced changes to the parameters of the network’s difficulty bomb by pushing it back by 700,000 blocks. The same roughly translates to 100 days, presenting time to devs till mid-October to commence with the actual mainnet merge.

Per Etherscan, the Gray Glacier hard fork took place on block number 15050000 around 6:54 am ET on Thursday. Before this, the Arrow Glacier delay happened in December last year and pushed the bomb to mid of this year.

Difficulty bombs basically increase the difficulty level of puzzles in the Ethereum mining algorithm. As such, it is designed to foster the network’s transition to 2.0 by disincentivizing miners.

Since the hardfork is already completed now, node operators and miners will have to start using the latest version of their Ethereum clients. If not updated, the clients will remain synced to the pre-fork blockchain. In effect, they’d not be able to send transactions or operate on the post-upgrade Ethereum network.

Per Ethereum Foundation’s Tim Beiko and client developer Nethermind, the upgrade was smooth and no hitch was noted.

Ethereum’s Sepolia next in the queue

Before the actual mainnet merge, Ethereum was set to undergo three public testnet merges. With the Ropsten one being concluded already, Sepolia stands next in the queue. Over the next few days, the testnet would undergo a mock test, simulating what would happen during the actual Merge of the Beacon Chain and the mainnet.

Per the foundation’s announcement post,

The network will transition to proof-of-stake when the total difficulty on the proof-of-work chain exceeds 17,000,000,000,000,000 which is expected to occur around in the next few days.

After Sepolia, only Goerli/Prater will need to be merged before actually moving to the mainnet. The exact date of The Merge has not been set, even though rough estimates point towards the end of Q3 or the beginning of Q4. The foundation clarified,

“… the date for the Ethereum mainnet proof-of-stake transition has not been set. Any source claiming otherwise is likely to be a scam.”