Discover more about The Merge

How are updates implemented?

Traditionally, network updates are implemented at a certain block number, not by date/time.

A date/time when an update is expected to occur can be estimated by calculating the time between the current block and the execution block using current block production times. The block production time fluctuates slightly depending on a number of factors, meaning any estimated time will also fluctuate.

The update named Arrow Glacier implemented in December 2021 pushed back the Ice Age / Difficulty Bomb to a block estimated to be seen in June 2022.

The rationale for that delay was published by Tim Beiko

‘The following script predicts a ~0.1-second delay to block time by June 2022 and a ~0.5-second delay by July 2022. This gives reason to address because the effect will be seen, but not so much urgency we don’t have space to work around if needed.’

What does this mean and why is it important for The Merge?

What does this mean, and why is it important for The Merge?

The effects of the Ice Age/Difficulty Bomb have been felt a number of times before, its history can be tracked in one way through the number of blocks produced in a given time, ie blocks produced per week.

There is some excellent information about the previous effects of the Difficulty Bomb here:

The rationale published by Tim Beiko to delay the difficulty bomb from December 2021 to around June 2022 suggested that there would be a ‘window’ where the Difficulty Bomb would not have a significant enough impact on block times so that The Merge could progress without another Arrow Glacier type update.

Because of the rapidly increasing impact on block times from July 2022 onward, the single indicator of whether The Merge is progressing as planned is whether a delay to the Ice Age/Difficulty Bomb is implemented, similar to Arrow Glacier.

At present, there is no planned update.

The closer the network gets to block times being significantly delayed without an announcement about an Arrow Glacier type update, then it becomes increasingly likely The Merge will take place in the window before block production time slows significantly.

How do we know when the Merge will take place?

How do we know when the Merge will take place?

Miners have a special interest in a date/time when The Merge might take place and Proof of Work for Ethereum effectively ceases. Many other stakeholders have an interest in when The Merge will occur.

Firstly, The Merge will not be implemented at a specific Block but rather by Terminal Total Difficulty (TTD) which will be announced by the Ethereum Foundation.

We have written an API that can be used to estimate the time to that value and therefore give an estimate of a date/time when The Merge will be implemented.

Again, because the network is live, this can fluctuate quite significantly depending on different network factors.

Once the value for the Terminal Total Difficulty has been announced by the Ethereum Foundation for any public Testnet and ultimately Mainnet, the Wenmerge countdown will be updated to give a live estimate of a date/time to reach the amazing milestone.