Ethereum: Vitalik Buterin Explains 5-Steps Of ‘The Merge’; Completion?

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Earlier this week, Watcher.Guru reported on Ether jumping from $1,250 to nearly $1,500 in a weekend’s window, following news of a confirmed date on ‘the Merge’, which will merge the current Ethereum Mainnet with the Beacon Chain proof-of-stake system. Following this, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin spoke about the Merge’s short and long-term outcomes.

On 20th July, Thursday, while speaking at the annual Ethereum Community Conference (EthCC) in Paris, Vitalik claimed that “after the merge, we will be able to build an Ethereum client that doesn’t even know the proof of work phase happened”. In addition to that, he also highlighted other phases following the Merge. The “Surge” according to Vitalik will be the next phase in the network’s roadmap, which is aimed at increasing the scalability for rollups through sharding.  

After the Merge and the Surge, the remaining three goals in the roadmap include the Verge – which upon the hard fork will implement the Verkle tree alongside the existing hexary Patricia tree. 

Simplistically, the Verkle will be much like the Merkle tree (“a data structure that is used in computer science applications. In bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies​, Merkle trees serve to encode blockchain data more efficiently and securely”).

The Verkle tree stores all edits to state and a copy of all accessed state, which in turn nullify any modifications to the hexary Patricia tree, further initiating the first step to a multi-phase transition for the Ethereum network to fully rely on Verkle for storage of execution state, ascertaining security. Verkle tree hard fork is targeted at facilitating a stateless-client-friendly witness size. 

The second last stage will be the Purge, which will encompass stating expiries as well as, deleting old irrelevant histories. At last, comes the Splurge, which Vitalik defined as “all of the other fun stuff”. 

The Merge Long-Term Goals

Single secret leader election (SSLE): This will basically make the answer to ‘who is going to be the proposer of the next block?’, more unpredictable. The purpose of this is to protect against DoS attacks. A denial-of-service attack (DoS attack) can be defined as a cyber-attack, where the attacker tries to make the network resource unavailable to its intended users by temporarily disrupting the services of a host connected to a network. 

Vitalik noted that,

“With an SSLE you’re not going to be able to tell who is going to create the next block until they actually release the block, which is really amazing. It gives us really nice security property.”

Single Slot Finality: moving to a world where Ethereum can actually confirm blocks within a single slot. Vitalik said that this is something that he has been looking into and discussing for nearly a year. Following this, he added another goal of ‘Better signature aggregation’, as part of the Single Slot Finality.