Ethereum (ETH) Darts Higher As Bellatrix Hard Fork, The Merge Enter Home Stretch

Ethereum’s landmark Merge event is coming — possibly even sooner than expected. According to a recent tweet by Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, the upgrade will now be fully executed sometime around September 13-15.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, ETH led gains among crypto majors as the Bellatrix hard fork and the Merge approach.

Ethereum’s PoS Upgrade Is Almost Here 

Ethereum, the network behind the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, is set to switch from the current proof of work (PoW) mining model to a proof of stake (PoS) consensus mechanism in a much-talked-about upgrade called the Merge. The long-awaited shift, years in the making, is anticipated to cut ETH token emissions by 90% and make Ethereum 99.95% more energy efficient.

Developers have thrown around dates for when the historic upgrade will go live on the mainnet for some time now. Ethereum wunderkind Vitalik Buterin expects the Merge to occur between September 13 and September 15.

Buterin urged node operators to upgrade their clients before the Bellatrix hard fork, scheduled for today (Sept. 6) at 11:34:47 am UTC. He added that the upgrade is still quite important as it kicks off the Merge process and sets everything in motion.

“The merge is still expected to happen around Sep 13-15. What’s happening today is the Bellatrix hard fork, which *prepares* the chain for the merge. Still important though — make sure to update your clients!”

After Bellatrix, another preparatory upgrade called Paris will happen on the execution layer, followed by the Merge between Sept. 13 and Sept. 15.

Per OKLink’s Ethereum Merge countdown, the Merge is now 98.88% complete. The network hash rate stands at 892.23TH/s, above the 872TH/s required to trigger the upgrade.

Ethereum has been testing transitions to PoS since December 2020. While there’s no guarantee that the transition will be flawless, developers widely envision a relatively smooth process.

ETH Soars Ahead Of Bellatrix Upgrade

ETH’s price today benefits from the incoming Bellatrix consensus layer upgrade. It’s up roughly 6.22%, trading at $1.662.72 at press time, according to CoinMarketCap data. This makes ETH the best-performing asset among the crypto market’s top ten cryptocurrencies. The crypto has noticeably enjoyed a wave of renewed interest in the lead-up to the Merge in recent months.

It’s estimated that the Merge will take around 13 minutes to complete. During that time, multiple cryptocurrency exchanges have indicated that they will temporarily suspend deposits and withdrawals for ETH and ERC-20 tokens to protect customers’ funds.

It should be noted that the Merge will not be the grand finale for the second-most valuable network. Ethereum will undertake more upgrades in the post-Merge era to address scalability issues.

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