Two Ethereum leaders have agreed that a more immediate merge of Ethereum 1.0 and Ethereum 2.0 is worthwhile.
Ethereum 1 and 2 could merge sooner
Ethereum’s roadmap includes a merge between the Ethereum 1.0 mainnet (which is currently used for transactions) and the Ethereum 2.0 beacon chain (which is used for staking).
Under the original roadmap, sharding was prioritized over the merge. Sharding aims to increase Ethereum’s scalability and transaction throughput. However, with the introduction of rollups, sharding is no longer the only way to improve Ethereum’s performance.
The merge will additionally mark a more thorough transition to proof-of-stake. Currently, it is possible to stake ETH, but the merge will make it possible to withdraw staking rewards. The commenter who suggested the prioritized merge noted that this change could bring “immediate liquidity” to staking participants.
A prioritized merge could also provide a fallback in the event that Ethereum’s newly approved fee structure (EIP 1559) has unforeseen consequences or attracts blowback.
Developers support a faster merge
Two of the most notable Ethereum developers have supported the suggestion. Danny Ryan, one of the Ethereum Foundation’s most notable researchers, stated: “I generally agree.”
Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin also agreed, adding that since December, the two stages have been considered “separate from each other and implementable in arbitrary order”.
Ethereum 2.0’s initial launch was delayed numerous times before its beacon chain went live in late 2020. This week’s news means that a more usable Ethereum 2.0 could arrive sooner.
However, the Ethereum team has not published a definitive date for the merge, with or without the new considerations.