Ethereum Merge Moves Closer as the First Mainnet Upgrade, Altair, Prepares for Release Next Month

“Altair is here; the Merge is coming.”

The much-anticipated release of ETH 2.0 is drawing near as the second largest network gets ready for the first mainnet upgrade to the Beacon Chain.

Developer Danny Ryan, a researcher at the Ethereum Foundation who’s the lead coordinator for the Ethereum 2.0 rollout, said Tuesday that the Altair consensus upgrade had been scheduled for epoch 74240 on Oct 27.

This upgrade brings light-client support to the core consensus, cleans up beacon state incentive accounting, fixes issues with validator incentives, and steps up the punitive params as per EIP-2982, he noted.

With client releases coming this week, node operators will be required to upgrade their nodes next week.

In the next phase, engineers will build out the Merge logic and test their software with other teams on short-lived devnets.

“Proof-of-stake superseding proof-of-work is years in the making, and we’re just as excited as you to see it in action. Much fun coming in October.”

Hash Rate Still Strong And Near Peak

When it comes to the Proof-of-Stake (PoS) Ethereum network, the deposit contract of ETH 2.0 already has 7.8 million ETH worth $22.7 billion already staked in it. There are currently 48,712 unique depositors.

Meanwhile, nearly 390k ETH worth $1.3 billion has been burned ever since the implementation of EIP 1559 in the London upgrade earlier in August. NFT marketplace OpenSea has the biggest contributor to this, having burned 56,640 ETH followed by 40,192 by DEX Uniswap (V2 +V3).

Amidst this, the second largest Ethereum mining pool SparkPool announced the “complete shutdown” of its services for all of its users by this month’s end to comply with regulatory requirements. The fourth-largest mining pool Beepool also announced the suspension of its operations before October 15.

For now, the hash rate of the Ethereum network is down only about 4.53% from 736,674 Th/s just three days back, according to Etherscan. The hash rate has been on an uptrend since late June, when it tumbled 26% in less than a month due to China’s crackdown on crypto at the time.

Once Ethereum fully becomes a PoS coin, such an incident would no longer be the point of concern for the second-largest cryptocurrency trading around $2,900, down 32.6% from the mid-May all-time high of $4,380, but it is still up 300% YTD.

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