Home Ethereum Ethereum competitors Solana, Avalanche and Tezos on merger upgrade

Ethereum competitors Solana, Avalanche and Tezos on merger upgrade


In the world of Ethereum, groups of developers, engineers, and so-called “proof-of-stake implementers” meet weekly to discuss via Zoom. Time and again, call after call, the biggest talking point has been the timing of the “merger,” a massive Ethereum upgrade that will dramatically improve its efficiency while reducing its environmental impact. On the calls, opinions were split on whether to announce a specific timeline for the merger: a step that would generate buzz and excitement but, given the complexity of the upgrade, could lead to pressure excessive and dashed expectations. But, on July 14, influential Ethereum developer Tim Beiko released an estimated date for the merger: the week of September 19. Ether rallied in response.

When it comes to the merger, the stakes are high for the Ethereum community, but they are not the only ones to watch closely. Also keep a close eye out for so-called Ethereum “killers,” rival blockchains that claim to offer similar functionality but in a faster and cheaper way. For them, a successful merger could undermine some of their claims to superiority, but it could also happen that Ethereum’s success bolsters the fortunes of the wider crypto world. To get an idea of ​​how competitors view the big event, Fortune spoke to rival blockchain executives who have long used the “proof-of-stake” model that Ethereum is trying to achieve with the merger. Interviews with executives from Avalanche, Solana, and Tezos revealed that they have distinct ideas about how the merger will (or won’t) affect their plans. But they share a point of view: all agree that the Ethereum merger is “long overdue”.

If the merger is successful, Ethereum will switch from the energy-intensive “proof-of-work” method of validating transactions on the blockchain to the proof-of-stake model, which relies on a reliable network of validators instead of brute force computing. A successful move to proof-of-stake will significantly reduce Ethereum’s environmental impact and pave the way for cheaper and more efficient transactions.

The merger is one of the most ambitious moves in blockchain history, and no one is entirely sure it will work. But as the fateful day approaches, Ethereum will have a final dress rehearsal for the upgrade using one of its testnets, this one known as Goerli.

Testnets are crucial for blockchains, as they are used by developers to test upgrades before being deployed to the so-called mainnet used by everyone. Testnets are similar to their mainnet variants and allow developers to run tests and check for bugs or security vulnerabilities, preventing such shortcomings from impacting the main blockchain. In the case of Ethereum, its Goerli testnet will undergo the merger and move to proof-of-stake. between August 6 and 12serving as a final dry run before mainnet looks to achieve the same in September.

When it comes to Ethereum’s move to proof-of-stake, the developers have done countless tests. While most see elaborate warm-ups as justified given the stakes – a failed mainnet upgrade would be disastrous – Ethereum is also catching up given that most of its competitors were built with proof-of-stake to begin with.

This is partly why “the merger is long overdue,” said Solana co-founder Anatoly Yakovenko. Fortune. “All of the networks that have launched in the past three years have used proof-of-stake.”

Arthur Breitman, co-founder of Tezos, mentioned the same thing. “It’s a good thing it’s moving to proof of stake, but it’s not a huge differentiator today. It’s not an accomplishment. All other blockchains are proof of stake now” , did he declare Fortune.

Without mincing words, he added, “I would love to get some press for something I promised eight years ago.”

Ethereum is merging for the greater good?

Some in the crypto space are relentlessly opposed to proof-of-stake as a whole, claiming that it is not as secure or decentralized as proof-of-work. Most critics of proof of stake are bitcoin maximalists, or those who are all about bitcoin, a blockchain that depends on proof of work. On the other hand, proponents of proof of stake view the upcoming Ethereum merger as positive, citing its environmental impact and their belief that it is as secure as proof of work.

Although they support proof-of-stake, Yakovenko and Breitman do not foresee a massive post-merger impact on the big space and Ethereum competitors.

“The only impact I see is that the industry as a whole can finally see blockchain as an energy-efficient way to build Web3,” Yakovenko said, referring to the blockchain-based decentralized iteration of the internet.

Breitman agrees. But “other than that, I don’t think it would be a major change,” he said, adding that the Ethereum merger and move to proof-of-stake only looks like one big event because it has been delayed so many times.

For Yakovenko, however, the merger is not overhyped and is important.

“For people who aren’t immersed in the technical details, it will finally be obvious that Proof of Stake is as secure as Proof of Work, but much more energy efficient,” he said.

Leaders behind other competitors, like John Wu, president of Ava Labs, the company building Avalanche, also see the Ethereum merger as a good thing for the space as a whole. Wu said Fortune he sees room for any Ethereum competitors with solid utility to grow.

“You have all the variations of ‘Layer 1’ that will exist for various purposes, as their communities and technologies all have slight differences,” he said, adding that each can complement the others. “It’s quite difficult in today’s world to be good at everything, regardless of Web2 or Web3.”

The potential impact of the Ethereum merger on Avalanche will likely be positive, Wu said. [and also] “Layer 2s” certainly benefit from the growth of Ethereum. There is a symbiotic relationship.

Once Ethereum transitions to proof-of-stake and continues to scale over time alongside its competitors, Wu believes, more institutional investment and mainstream adoption will come.

“I think it will take time, but it will evolve,” he said.

Long way to go for ‘Layers 1’

While most recognize its importance, it’s no surprise that Ethereum’s competitors seem to downplay the potential impact of the merger – after all, a hugely successful merger could arguably reduce the need for rival blockchains.

Beiko, the prominent Ethereum developer, declined to comment on the impact the merger might have on other competing chains, as he (and most others in the Ethereum space) tactfully avoids commenting on other networks. But he said Fortune that Ethereum’s proof-of-stake design today is “the one that can accommodate the largest number of individual validators.”

For him, the merger means a lot for Ethereum: it can increase the number of participants in the consensus process that validates blockchain transactions, while reducing energy consumption to “almost nothing” and “laying the foundation” for Ethereum to evolve further. .

What sets the Ethereum merger apart, Beiko said, is that its proof-of-stake design “allows Ethereum to respond to misbehaving block producers with penalties and cuts, which is not currently not possible in proof-of-work or many other proof-of-participation networks,” he said, referring to the process of removing much of a validator’s stake – or even ejecting them. of the network – if it violates network rules and is a bad actor.” This added degree of protocol-imposed constraints leads to increased security and reduced emission for the Ethereum network.”

Nevertheless, the merger is far from a slam dunk, despite years of preparation and testing. Along with the possibility of another delay, various issues may arise, such as problems with customers or software verification transactions, and conflicting hangs, among others, which are so complex that they can be difficult to plan. . However, Ethereum developers and engineers are working to be ready for any potential issues.

And even if the merger happens in September and everything goes well, Ethereum still has a long way to go in terms of development.

Speaking at the Ethereum Community Conference (EthCC) in Paris last week, the creator of Ethereum Vitalik Buterin said he considers the network to be around 40% completeand after the merger, “Ethereum can go up to 55% complete,” he said.

Also on Ethereum’s roadmap are four other phases running in parallel, which the developers call “the influx, the edge, the purge, and the insanity”, all of which aim to make Ethereum much more secure and decentralized.

“At the end of this roadmap, Ethereum will be a much more scalable system…At the end, Ethereum will be able to process 100,000 transactions per second,” Buterin said.

The upshot is that even if the Ethereum merger goes off without a hitch, it still has a long way to go before it reaches the speed and efficiency that its boosters say is possible. This means that, for now at least, the Ethereum “killers” still have a chance to compete.

Avalanche’s Wu, however, takes a long view. For Ethereum and its rivals, he says “there is still a lot of work to do for many, many years.”


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