Ethereum is merging on the Ropsten public testnet in just three weeks.
In light of the news, Joe Lubin, the founder of dev shop ConsenSys, made a May 17 appearance on Bloomberg to discuss Ethereum’s forthcoming transition to Proof-of-Stake.
“The first major testnet is scheduled to merge in early June, the current plan is June 8,” Lubin said. “Now, there will be a couple of other major testnets that will merge a few weeks after that, and if all goes according to plan, we could see a Q3 merge.”
The Merge will unify the Eth2 Beacon Chain with Ethereum’s Proof-of-Work mainnet, shifting the network to Proof-of-Stake consensus. The transition is tipped to reduce Ethereum’s energy by more than 99.9% by abandoning the energy-intensive mining process.
Reduction in ETH Issuance
It will also drive a 90% drop in new Ether emissions. Combined with base transaction fees being burned, the upgrade is expected to realize deflationary Ether issuance — meaning that more ETH will be destroyed than created as new supply, which could drive bullish price action for Ether.
Lubin’s appearance on Bloomberg comes after Ethereum developer Trent Van Epps, tweeted this past weekend that The Merge is currently slated to go live on the public Ropsten testnet on June 8. If successful, the Ropsten fork will be The Merge’s first deployment to a public testnet, marking a major milestone in the roadmap towards Ethereum’s transition to Proof of Stake.
Lubin emphasized the scalability enabled by Proof of Stake, describing the upgrades as modularizing Ethereum by “teasing apart the execution aspects from the security aspects.”
He also noted the important role that Layer 2 networks will play in scaling Ethereum after The Merge. He predicted that future upgrades guaranteeing data availability to L2s will enable them to scale up to “millions of transactions per second” in the future.
The ConsenSys CEO responded to questions challenging the decentralization of Proof-of-Stake chains. “350,000 validators is a pretty big number, much bigger than any other system. The barrier to entry for individuals or small organizations to validate the Ethereum network is very low now compared to Proof-of-Work systems,” he said.
Bloomberg’s Matt Miller also challenged the decentralization of Proof-of-Stake systems. Lubin described the consensus method as “far more secure and far less attackable” than Proof-of-Work. He noted that attacks can be carried out against PoW chains by hiring mining power for short periods to attempt a 51% attack. “If you fail, then [it’s] not that big a deal,” he said.
“Executing an attack on a Proof-of-Stake system is enormously expensive,” Lubin continued.
“51% of hundreds of billions of dollars is not easy to get to, and once you start trying to accumulate, that would drive the price of Ether up to essentially unobtainable levels [and] it would be very hard to steal that much Ether.”