Merge: 5 Misconceptions About Ethereum's Upcoming Upgrade

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Merge: 5 Misconceptions About Ethereum's Upcoming Upgrade

Ethereum's long-awaited upgrade, known as Merge, could happen earlier than expected, on September 15th or 16th to be exact. The news was announced on Twitter by Anthony Sassano, an independent ethereum educator, co-founder of the Ethereum research website EthHub, and a prominent member of the ethereum community.

The upgrade, which will complete Ethereum's transition to a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism, was originally expected to take place on or around September 19. The most significant upgrade in Ethereum history, The Merge, indeed marks the end of proof-of-work (PoW) for the Ethereum blockchain.

However, there are a few misconceptions about this upgrade. What can we expect after the Merge upgrade?

Myth 1: Ethereum gas fees will decrease after Merge upgrade

The misconception that Ethereum's upcoming upgrade will reduce Ethereum's infamous gas fees (transaction fees) is one of the biggest misconceptions circulating among investors.

While reduced gas fees are at the top of every investor's wish list, Merge is “just” a change in the consensus mechanism that will switch the Ethereum blockchain from proof-of-work (PoW) to proof-of-stake (PoS).

Instead, reducing Ethereum gas fees will require work to expand network capacity and transaction throughput. The developer community is currently working on plans aimed at bulk transactions to make them as cheap as possible.

Myth 2: Ethereum transactions will be faster after the Merge upgrade

It is to be assumed that Ethereum transactions will not be significantly faster. However, there is some truth to this rumor, as the Beacon Chain allows validators to publish a block every 12 seconds, which is roughly 13.3 seconds on the mainnet.

Although Ethereum developers believe that the switch to PoS will allow a 10% increase in block production, this slight improvement will go unnoticed by users.

Misconception 3: The merger will result in the Ethereum blockchain stalling

Contrary to misconceptions predicting positive outcomes for Ethereum, this popular misconception suggests that the planned upgrade will bring down the Ethereum blockchain.

However, the developers predict that there will not be any downtime, considering the process of switching from PoW to PoS mechanism.

Misconception 4: Investors will be able to withdraw invested ETH after upgrading

Staked ETH (stETH), a cryptocurrency backed 1:1 by Ether (ETH), currently sits locked on the Beacon Chain.

While users would love to be able to withdraw their stETH funds, the developer community has confirmed that the upgrade does not facilitate this change. Withdrawal of stETH funds will be available during the next major upgrade coming after the Merge, known as the Shanghai upgrade.

As a result, the assets will remain locked up and illiquid for at least 6-12 months after the merger.

Misconception 5: Validators will not be able to withdraw ETH rewards

While stETH remains blocked to investors until payouts resume after the Shangai upgrade, validators will have immediate access to fees and maximum value (MEV).

Since the compensation fee will not be newly issued tokens, it will be immediately available to the validator. Sharing his opinion on Ethereum's untapped potential, Polygon co-founder Mihailo Bjelic told Cointelegraph that zkEVM Rollups, a new scaling solution for Ethereum, will enable the smart contract protocol to surpass Visa in terms of transaction throughput.

Sandeep Nailwal, the other co-founder of Polygon, came up with a solution that will reduce Ethereum fees by 90% and increase the transaction flow to 40-50 transactions per second.