After many years of work, full Proof of Stake is finally on our doorstep. While many have talked about the significance of the moment, we think it’s best to hear directly from the builders behind it. Merge Manual is a collection of perspectives from 60+ core Ethereum contributors, including client developers, researchers and coordinators from 18 different teams.
Note that this is a subset of the whole — not every contributor submitted a response. Responses were collected in August and September 2022 in the weeks leading up to the Merge itself; the anticipation is apparent in the submissions! We hope you enjoy these snapshots of sentiment leading into the biggest Ethereum event since the Genesis block in 2015. Thank you for reading and being part of the Ethereum story.
We’re releasing this in advance of New Home of the Heart, an NFT exhibition and sale which celebrates the Merge and its builders. Proceeds are split between the artists and the Protocol Guild, a collective of 119 core Ethereum contributors. We hope you will join us for the opening of the exhibition on Sept 12.
→ Sign up to be notified of the exhibition opening or follow the organizers: SW & JPG.
Merge Manual builds on Stateful Works’ goal of creating cultural artifacts for the Ethereum community through projects like the Beacon Book and 1559 NFT Collection.
In the case of any omissions, we apologize! Please reach out to Stateful Works to have your contribution added.
Identifier / handle
Role / title
date of first Merge involvement
a. What’s your perspective when looking back on your contributions to the Merge effort? Or, what does Ethereum moving off of PoW / the benefits of PoS mean to you?
b. Now that the Merge chapter is closing, what are you excited to see progress towards in the next 1–2 years of Ethereum and why? What about the next 4 years? Consider EIPs, technical features, general protocol design, community norms, specific accomplishments, etc.
c. What Merge related work are you particularly proud of? Include a few sentences of context and a link to the work if applicable eg. hackMD, github PR
d. What was the most difficult challenge you encountered? Impossible bugs, unexpected complexity, failed experiments. Include a few sentences of context and a link to the work if applicable eg. hackMD, github PR
e. Who is someone else involved in Merge work that you’ve come to admire or want to give a shoutout to? Make sure to give some context as to why you appreciate them.
f. Any funny stories or anecdotes?
g. In three words or less, how do you feel about the Merge being so close to complete?
a. Ethereum’s upgrade to proof-of-stake is the most ambitious effort in blockchain systems. From a technical standpoint, Ethereum promises to deliver a protocol that combines the best of proof-of-work and traditional consensus technologies, while removing the downsides of each of these. First off, Ethereum’s energy consumption will drop to less than 1% of the older protocol. This upgrade marks the end of wasteful mining in Ethereum, and hopefully the beginning of the end for mining in all blockchains.
As far as user guarantees go, Ethereum doesn’t compromise on any front:
Accountable safety, a feature borrowed from traditional consensus systems, provides the strongest safety guarantee possible in blockchains
users can rely on their transactions being final, and attackers will be identified & punished in true proof-of-stake fashion.
Dynamic availability, a feature borrowed from proof-of-work, means that the protocol can keep making progress even when a large chunk of participants go offline. With the multi-client approach and great client diversity, this means that single client failures do not grind the system to a complete halt.
Ethereum achieves all of the above without compromising on decentralization: participating in the protocol is as easy as setting up an Ethereum client on a consumer-grade computer at home, and the protocol allows for 1,000,000+ participants!
b. The Merge is only the first step in a long list of upgrades to achieve blockchain utopia. Future protocol upgrades bring real scalability and transaction capacity, through the rollup-centric approach.
In parallel, the Ethereum community also innovates on auxiliary protocols such as distributed validator technology, and programmable slashing rules for Ethereum stake. Often overlooked as an advantage of proof-of-stake, these innovations provide extremely valuable extensions to Ethereum’s protocol.
Distributed validator technology allows for a group of entities to come together and co-operatively run a validator, while removing any central points of control. This forms the basis for truly decentralized staking pools, lowering the capital requirements for participating in the protocol.
Programmable slashing rules allow for applications to borrow security from Ethereum’s validator set, while increasing the capital efficiency of the locked stake. This provides the capability to bootstrap application-level security using Ethereum’s protocol participants.
While we are still far from realizing the ultimate promise of Ethereum - a fast, cheap, secure, & decentralized platform - The Merge takes us one step forward towards the blockchain grail.
g. When merge? Now.
Lead Blockchain Engineer
a. Being part of the global team making the merge happen has been one of the most rewarding periods of my career, and will very likely be what delivers the biggest impact of anything I've done professionally. Moving to proof of stake has been the vision for Ethereum since day one and now it's finally happening.
The Merge is a technical marvel. The security, diversity and environmental benefits it brings are amazing enough, but replacing the very core of how the blockchain works while it's running is just next level. Then to do all that by working in the open, coordinating across multiple teams and involving the whole Ethereum community is almost unbelievable.
While challenging at times, it's the involvement from the wider community that has made this process so enjoyable for me. The Merge is delivered by more than just the researchers and client developers, it's just as much from the people helping build communities, raising awareness, providing technical support and encouragement. It's come from home stakers learning to run their own server for the first time to be part of this momentous event. The Merge is brought to you by the whole Ethereum community, working together to achieve something great.
b. The Ethereum technical roadmap is full to bursting with further improvements to make. Likely that roadmap will change multiple times before much of it is delivered - as it has on the journey to the merge. For me, the most vital next steps will be unleashing the potential of L2s. Scalability is a part of that, but much more important will be opening up the world of innovation that they can provide, while keeping the layer 1 protocol as a strong, stable base.
The community also has work to do to promote further decentralisation in all aspects, and to help make all the upcoming technological improvements more accessible to and appreciated by everyday people.
c. I'm most proud of the way interactions with the execution client were weaved into Teku in a completely asynchronous but very intuitive way. That code has remained virtually unchanged from the very early devnets and mitigated one of my biggest concerns with the merge, that the extra processing required for blocks would be a problem for the tightly time-bound way that PoS works.
e. Mikhail "Mr Merge" Kalinin has obviously been a huge driving force to make the merge happen and staying on top of everything. Paul Hauner did some amazing work inventing optimistic sync so that execution clients can sync efficiently and safely. The whole EthStaker community for the amazing work they've done educating people about the merge, encouraging decentralisation and building a wonderful friendly community in the process.
g. Can haz holiday?
a. The whole process has been a wild ride. There was an overall goal to reach PoS but in the early days the technology (mathematical cryptography) didn't even exist to realise the high requirements of a sufficiently decentralized PoS consensus system. Throughout the years the design of PoS solidified. The implementations of the design then found further issues which lead to more design modifications. Eventually, with the beacon chain mainnet launch we achieved a working system of PoS that fit the strict requirements of Ethereum. So throughout a dynamically changing goal, multiple teams managed to reach agreement into a final system at roughly the same time, which was great to see. The merge itself is the final unification of all this hard work by the consensus teams with all the hard work of the execution teams into one single chain. Apart from the obvious technical improvements this brings, the main benefit I'm most excited to have contributed to, is the reduction of the energy footprint of the ecosystem. We'll be eliminating a very large amount of energy consumption by this switch and reducing the carbon footprint of Ethereum by over 99%.
b. Scaling is the obvious choice here. I'm excited to see scaling at both layer 1 and layer 2. The next few years will be supporting layer 2 at the protocol level. We've spent a lot of time designing scaling into the beacon chain. Actually utilising the shards and subnets that we've spent a lot of time building and ensuring they function as expected is what I'm most excited to see.
Over the next 4 years I'd like to see more privacy built into the protocol level. I'd imagine some zero-knowledge tech to make its way in at some point to either help mask validator identities, transactions sources or transactions themselves, eliminate MEV and possibly even more fun applications.
c. I am most proud of the entire Sigma Prime and Lighthouse team. The late night bug hunts, the cross-client team collaboration finding miscommunication between clients, the ability to quickly and safely build new features and merge-testing tools under heavy time pressure and the overall quality and result we've achieved in getting Lighthouse merge-ready.
d. Researching and upgrading networking components is in my opinion the hardest challenge. It can be easy to modify some parameters of any given node on a network, for example to send less messages. But we do not know what the large scale effect this could have once all (or a majority of nodes) also adopt this change on the network. Potentially the network could become disjoint, or nodes stop receiving messages. It is a challenge to test and simulate real-world large-scale networks with significant network changes and there is always going to be some risk when updating individual clients or the network to how the whole network at scale will behave. I find these kinds of issues the most challenging.
e. Sean Anderson - Sean works on Lighthouse and I wanted to give a shoutout to him for dedication to the core principles of blockchain and Ethereum. There was significant discussion with the latest SEC sanctions on tornado cash that potentially MEV relays would censor Ethereum transactions and hence we could have censorship happening protocol level. He's spent significant time considering how best to handle MEV post-merge never deviating from the core principles of censorship resistance and decentralisation, despite being significantly more complex to handle MEV under these requirements.
g. Ecstatic and Relieved
a. I wish I could have contributed more, but there's still a lot of room left, for example on withdrawals.
b. In the short term I hope there will be a breathing time to collectively brainstorm about the other work streams which have been held back. To mention a few, there has been a lot of progress made on state optimisation (verkle trees for example), account abstraction (both in-protocol and off-protocol versions), and EVM improvements (including precompiles).
Over the medium term, I think these will be prioritised properly, and we will see more separation of concerns within clients, allowing the different parts to progress more quickly and driven by separate teams.
c. I had a great interest in multiple parts of the work, but eventually stayed on the sidelines, mostly providing reviews on data structures affecting the execution side (and reviews in the EIP editor capacity). Tiny win, but happy with the way the DIFFICULTY opcode was handled.
e. There are so many individuals and collective efforts, that it is really hard to select someone, however I would like to shoutout to Guillaume and Mikhail for preparing the initial prototype demo, which really kicked the progress into a higher gear.
g. Don't jinx it.
a. The Merge delivers many benefits to an ecosystem we all care deeply about -- whether that's making the consensus more secure, the validation more scalable, or the chain more sustainable.
Even accounting for all of this, I am most proud of all the people involved and I'm grateful to watch their dedication over the years as we all pursued an incredibly ambitious task. This effort has been an invigorating reminder of what is possible with a shared vision and strong resolve to build a better future.
b. While we should certainly stop to recognize our achievement with the Merge, it is only the beginning. Ethereum still needs deep changes to realize its full potential including scalable throughput in the form of sharding. This work arrives with EIP-4844 "proto-danksharding" and the eventual "danksharding". These features scale the data availability of the base layer, providing a rich foundation for rollups and similar scaling technologies to build on top of.
The Merge couples the Ethereum execution state to the consensus validator set. I am excited for a series of EVM upgrades that admit the implementation of an expanded set of trust-minimized validator designs. These upgrades include the BLS cryptographic precompiles and the addition of a beacon accumulator into the EVM, so proofs about the consensus layer can be verified inside the EVM.
Looking beyond that, our new world introduces new concerns that will need clever solutions to ensure Ethereum remains a brilliant and decentralized ecosystem. The centralizing tendencies of liquid staking designs like Lido need to be closely monitored before it becomes an avenue for protocol capture. Increasing the scope of staking pool designs and encouraging "solo" staking should go a long way to mitigate this concern. And the centralization pressures exerted by MEV at the base layer also need to be carefully managed, hopefully with a thoughtful inclusion of proposer-builder separation into the core protocol.
c. I could name several contributions but this one is fun simply for historical reasons! (https://github.com/ethereum/casper/pull/143)
This PR represents some of my initial work on Casper back when the Merge was going to be done as a finality overlay on top of the Ethereum execution chain. We were in fact going to manage the entire validator set as a smart contract -- it is inspiring and also entertaining to see how far we have come from these early designs.
d. The most challenging part of the experience is also the most exciting: being on the bleeding edge. This means that the work is always interesting but it also means you can sometimes deprecate a lot of work just off a simple spec change -- ask any of the client implementers.
e. I'd like to give a shoutout to Trent Van Epps who has tirelessly worked to ensure the Merge is smoothly delivered on the community front. Many of us approach this as a technical problem, but Trent has had the foresight to recognize there are many, many other components to such a large change to an open, decentralized ecosystem like Ethereum. And he has been on top of making sure this change happens with various types of "protocol support" like hosting community calls, and supporting documentation and education.
g. excited hopeful anxious
Robust Incentives Group (EF)
a. Ethereum’s move to proof of stake is an uncompromising balancing act, improving decentralization and monetary properties with environmental benefits as the tasty cherry on top. As an example, due to the signature verification bottleneck, it is tricky to build a permissionless PoS system where anyone can run their own validator. The uncompromising solution (https://ethresear.ch/t/pragmatic-signature-aggregation-with-bls/2105) was to incorporate breakthroughs in BLS aggregate signatures to allow for a higher validator count, making solo staking feasible. And I like how Justin Drake puts it, starting with PoW was a good way to distribute ownership across many users, but switching to PoS is likewise good for avoiding the negative centralizing effects of industrial-scale mining. The Merge lets Ethereum have the best of both worlds. I joined very recently so my contribution has not been that big so far. Hopefully formulating the equations for the circulating supply equilibrium (https://ethresear.ch/t/circulating-supply-equilibrium-for-ethereum-and-minimum-viable-issuance-during-the-proof-of-stake-era/10954) last year helped confirm the soundness of the issuance policy.
b. Personally, I hope to make progress on the “macro” side of Ethereum economics over the next year. This includes a more complete analysis of the forces that influence the circulating supply and the prospects of targeting an optimal range for the deposit ratio (the proportion of all ether that is staked). I also hope to finish my study on discouragement attacks so that we can finetune the protocol to “discourage discouragement”. One challenge for the near future is how to handle the growth in the validator set size. Vitalik has discussed various mitigation strategies (https://notes.ethereum.org/@vbuterin/validator_set_size_capping). The most exciting solutions would of course involve progress on single-slot finality (https://notes.ethereum.org/@vbuterin/single_slot_finality) since SSF reduces protocol complexity and removes reorg opportunities. In general, the big thing I am very excited about is the various efforts on scaling coming to fruition, and the apps and use cases that will finally emerge as a result.
e. Thanks to Barnabé Monnot for keeping the RIG family happy and for playing 31. Qg2
a. Personally for me the most exciting side of the Merge is that Ethereum is still agile and innovative and its community is ready to accept all the risks of such a fundamental change.
b. I would be excited to see the Ethereum continue moving further towards its original goals. The next goal is Sharding (we still refer to this term despite the fact the original design was totally refactored and basically no 'shards' left in the latest version). Sharding should make Ethereum the best platform for L2 solutions, which in their turn should finally reach the goal of making transactions fast, cheap and still secure. Sharding is technically more complex than the Merge and there is still a number of challenges to be addressed. So I would be happy to see that working in either 2 or 4 or even more years.
c. Primarily I helped develop a PoC Merge version of the Teku client in preparation to and during the Amphora workshop in Greece. That version of course was finally rewritten by the Teku team in the right production manner, but our draft version helped to discover a number of issues, adjust the Merge spec accordingly, and successfully come to consensus with other implementations during the first test Merge event.
e. I'd like to acknowledge Mikhail Kalinin's work on the Merge. He was one of the central experts and coordinators in this really significant milestone. It was also a great fun to assist him from the Teku side and to spend a couple of weeks with him and his family in Greece for merging and relaxing.
f. It's hard to imagine how much people, businesses and money the Merge affects (I'm mentioning miners mostly). Many of Amphora participants were slightly nervous regarding this event assuming it as a pivot point for PoW to PoS transition. Thus it was recommended for everyone not to publish the time and the place of the event and not to publish photos prior to the event completion. That conspiracy was both slightly scary and slightly funny.
g. I'm a bit nervous
a. Ethereum moving to PoS is something I have been looking forward. Setting aside the technological accomplishments, getting rid of the pollution associated to PoW is something remarkable.
b. I am really keen to work on any aspect of Ethereum that involves the use of cryptography. There are a lot of features in my wish list: from Single Secret Leader Election to Verifiable Delay Functions.
Robust Incentives Group (EF)
Researcher — Team lead
a. To preface, I've worked quite a bit on the Proof-of-Stake consensus and its incentives, not that much on the Merge itself, i.e., the specific point where we turn off PoW and pass the baton to PoS. But I guess that's working towards the Merge in a way, to ensure that the Merge goes well and Ethereum continues to do well over time.
I am struck by the ambition, it's even more breathtaking when you're so close to the protocol. The Merge doesn't just completely replace one critical component of the system with another. This new component, PoS Ethereum. a.k.a., Gasper, is also a brand new protocol, with economic finality, dynamic availability, room for way more validators than any other protocol... it's really a lot at once.
b. The Merge delivers a promise made long ago, even before I joined the research efforts or knew about Ethereum. The second promise is to have a protocol affordable to all.
Affordable means we scale, the sooner the better. There is a really strong roadmap on that front, with EIP-4844, data availability sampling, rollups... You can never tell how an ecology will develop when the environment it lives in expands significantly. What are the wild things we might see on-chain when sub-cent transactions are the norm?? This is what I am here for!
c. From the corner of my little domain, I am just glad I got to participate and add my contribution. I think I was one of the first to look into the timing incentives of PoS messages, and how because we have a fixed schedule for events, there is room to deviate from the protocol (https://ethereum.github.io/beaconrunner/notebooks/thunderdome/thunderdome.html). When the Altair hard fork took place, I figured out a small accounting bug that would have made the issuance a little lower than it should have been (https://github.com/ethereum/consensus-specs/pull/2276). With others, we looked deeply into reorgs and I think the arguments that were made hardened the protocol in many ways (https://arxiv.org/abs/2110.10086). Small contributions added to the collective effort of the hive mind of protocol development :)
e. This is incredibly hard to single one person, but as I am writing, we're in the last stretch of getting this thing past the post and Pari really stands out. The Merge is such a massive engineering effort and a million things could go wrong. Pari and his team have expertly deployed test after test, maintaining tooling, providing detailed data and reports after each "fake Merge"... I don't think we'd go into this crazy update with as much confidence as we're having right now if not for him. On top of this he is the friendliest person! I am glad we live in the same city :D
f. Numerologists will spend a long time trying to figure out why all parameters are powers of two...
g. Life's! F******! Good!
a. I first came across the idea of proof of stake in early 2016. It was, and is, brilliant. Ethereum's plan to move to proof of stake was one of the reasons I was so drawn to it, eventually making my passion my profession. Proof of work has its own genius, but the pointless, ever increasing burning of power is unconscionable to me. The journey has been long - much longer than any of us anticipated - but I am thrilled to have had a bit part in making it happen.
b. In some ways The Merge feels like the end of a long journey; in others, just the beginning. Ethereum's roadmap is huge and ambitious and ever-evolving.
One general trend I'd like to see is a continuing simplification of the protocol. I'm trying to write the comprehensive documentation for Ethereum on PoS, and it's sometimes a little terrifying how complex it has become. It would be easy to layer complexity on complexity, but I think we should aim to do the hard thing and strive to make it ever simpler.
On specific roadmap items, the long term goal of achieving single slot finality would be a game changer.
c. I founded the project that became Teku (https://github.com/ConsenSys/teku). The actual building of Teku was all done by the many fabulous individuals who've made up the team over the last 4 years. But I will take a little credit for having kicked it off and nurtured it into life.
e. This is hard - there are so many - but to pick one individual associated specifically with The Merge, it has to be Mikhail Kalinin. The initiative for The Merge in the form that we have it today was his (https://ethresear.ch/t/executable-beacon-chain/8271) and he has done a superb job shepherding it to completion - writing docs and specs, solving problems, providing advice - with impressive care, consistency, calmness, and wisdom.
f. The original name for Teku was Artemis, which was a superb name. But then NASA used it for their Moon mission, so that was that. I still think we should have kept it.
g. It's happening!
Robust Incentives Group (EF)
a. Besides the obvious excitement about the environmental and security characteristics of PoS Ethereum, I am in awe at the research and development process that made the Merge possible. People contributed to this complex system from all over the globe in an open and distributed fashion. All this happened while PoW Ethereum underwent enormous growth and changes itself. Upgrading a live system of this scale so fundamentally is not only a technological achievement but also one of coordination and governance.
Almost exactly 2^4 months ago (Ethereum's consensus layer loves powers of two) I embarked on this journey and I feel incredibly grateful to have even contributed a tiny bit to PoS Ethereum.
b. Personally one of the things I am very much looking forward to is simplifying the existing protocol. We have learnt a great deal about the interaction of the available and finalized chain, the quirks of the fork choice and classes of attack vectors over the last few years. Distilling and using these learnings to design a simpler protocol will go a long way, both in containing complexity and edge cases, as well as in making the system more accessible again (in terms of understanding it from scratch). I believe there is great value in that.
‘Single Slot Finality’ (SSF), a sketch of a proposal/idea put forward by Vitalik, is a step in this direction (https://notes.ethereum.org/@vbuterin/single_slot_finality). Another one is a change to the fork choice rule, referred to as ‘view-merge’ (https://ethresear.ch/t/change-fork-choice-rule-to-mitigate-balancing-and-reorging-attacks/11127)
c. I am most proud of finding an attack vector referred to as ex ante reorgs and contributing to the mitigation of it. In short, a single validator would have been able to reorg an honest block out, which is clearly unacceptable — especially in the context of MEV. It is one of the many hiccups of our beloved fork choice rule. But I am hopeful that our understanding of this class of attack, namely timing messages strategically, has been hardened significantly and will help us to simplify the protocol going forward. Ideas for more elegant solutions are already being worked on, e.g. ‘view-merge’ (shoutout to Francesco!).
Some of the ex-ante-reorg related work is a paper that I co-authored (https://arxiv.org/abs/2110.10086), a document analyzing the fix (https://notes.ethereum.org/@casparschwa/H1T0k7b85) and a trivial spec PR (https://github.com/ethereum/consensus-specs/pull/2895).
e. I wouldn’t want to imagine where we would be without Danny. Besides all his technical contributions he seems to be on top of every discussion, coordinating all critical fixes, but most importantly he is invaluable in bridging the gap between research and client teams.
f. Being called “Caspar” I often find myself walking around an Ethereum conference, thinking that people are talking about me, only to quickly realize they are obviously talking about Casper (FFG) - duh.
g. happy unknown unknowns
a. The merge is not just a small step, it's a giant leap towards fulfilling the vision for Ethereum -- becoming the powerful, sustainable bedrock for global human coordination. For years, tangible progress towards this vision had seemingly stalled. But underneath the surface, network upgrades continued to be executed, significant and foundational research continued to be published, and herculean efforts by everyone involved continued unabated. But the network has maintained its same fundamental architecture. And the warts on this prolific project have become more and more prominent. The merge is Ethereum's rebirth. It's an answer to the call for tackling Ethereum's shortcomings and fulfilling its promises. It's the culmination of years of work behind the scenes and a rededication to the revolutionary and ambitious spirit of Ethereum's roots.
b. The next exciting development in Ethereum will be growing its scalability. When Ethereum can can be used at a hundredth or thousandth the current cost, the floodgates will be opened for new usecases. I'm hopeful that Ethereum can be leveraged to build an open payment network.
e. Gajinder, from Lodestar team, led the Merge efforts on our team consistently for months. He's really risen to the challenge and grown as a leader. He's the reason that Lodestar has been able to actively participate in Merge testing to the extent we did.
g. What's next? XD
a. Merge and the change to PoS is yet another but big step to the global adoption of Ethereum. There are many more in front of us but we're getting closer and I hope the Merge will prove we can deliver.
b. Danksharding and L2
c. Bug fixing and mental support for the team :)
d. Time pressure
e. Marek Moraczynski - extremely hard working and committed to the project
a. The Merge is probably the most major upgrade any blockchain with major usage has ever attempted. The direct benefits of reduced waste, reduced issuance, and a major increase in security are already phenomenal. But in addition, it starts a 2+ year upgrade cycle that transforms Ethereum from its original version to a scalable blockchain.
b. On the closer time horizon, I am very excited to see EIP4844 implemented to give rollups some space to grow into and make affortable transactions with Ethereum-grade security a reality. On the longer timescale, implementing full Sharding will give us lasting scalability benefits - by far the most important project in my opinion.
g. It is amazing.
Research and specs
a. Ethereum moving from PoW to PoS took much longer and was more complicated than I expected, but the result is also far better than I dreamed at the outset.
b. Let's get some scale and a bit more sustainability of key components of the protocol and call it a day. Ethereum must ossify to remain a neutral utility for humanity
c. "Eth1+eth2 client relationship" ethresearch post (https://ethresear.ch/t/eth1-eth2-client-relationship/7248) - The devil is in the details, but we ended up going with pretty much this exact software architecture and it appears to have worked. I will also always be proud of the beacon chain specifications (https://github.com/ethereum/consensus-specs). We put an incredible amount of time and effort into these to get them right.
e. Mikhail -- Such a powerhouse of specification, design, and testing for the Merge. Pari -- Ethereum devops wizard. Always there when anyone needed him. Without Pari and his team's support, the Merge would have been even more delayed and less safe. Client teams -- The real heroes of Ethereum
f. We once thought Sharding would come before the Merge
a. Aside from the oft-mentioned reduction of energy usage, Ethereum moving off of proof of work to proof of stake helps ensure that network participation opens up to more people: it depends less on where participants live or can host servers, in what way or how much they pay for electricity, or what access they might have to GPUs or other more specialized mining equipment.
Proof of stake, post-merge, can allow broader-based participation regardless of these factors and thus catalyze decentralization, regardless of potential ETH price changes.
b. Over the next year or two, EIP-4844, proto-danksharding, and danksharding should help secure Ethereum's future by constraining the state size each node is responsible for. This will ensure that more people with different access to relevant resources can run independent nodes. Built-in support for proposer-builder separation contributes to an aligned goal of counteracting centralizing tendencies brought about by MEV. Both aspects of danksharding help Ethereum continue to support independent node operators, faced with a risk of gradually coalescing into fewer operating entities whose interests may diverge from the health of the network.
While EIP-4844 and proto-danksharding aim to support Ethereum as it exists today, integration of ZK-SNARKs and ZK-STARKs over the next few years will hopefully enable scaling, flexibility, design modularization, and other new features.
d. Coordination across all of the consensus and execution layer client teams, along with other stakeholders, to ensure that the developing protocols, specifications, and implementations interoperated compatibly could be unexpectedly complex. This complexity, however, has proven well-worthwhile by ensuring that Ethereum has a diverse client ecosystem not dependent on quirks of any one client, but a well-documented set of extensively tested protocols which will help the Ethereum ecosystem as a whole continue to confidently improve.
e. Thanks to @MariusVanDerWijden for helping ensure in the early Amphora and Kintsugi era that Geth was always ready with the latest protocol and specification changes for interop testnets and consensus layer client development.
Senior Protocol Engineer
a. I joined the Teku team just two weeks before the first in-person dev meeting organised in Greece, fully dedicated to "The Merge". It was my first full-time job in the crypto space. I was already the Ethereum ecosystem since 2017, but my professional expertise was from a completely different industry. The opportunity to be part of the collective effort towards "The Merge" was one of the main reasons I decided to join ConsenSys. Due to my growing awareness of climate change, I truly appreciated the priority boost given to the PoS transition. While my contributions may be considered marginal, I feel like the decision to join the effort is probably the most impactful action I could ever have made to reduce CO2 emissions. This will set the precedent. This is the best thing we could have done - I'm proud of us all!
b. The next big thing is scaling the Ethereum ecosystem. EIP 4844 is the closest initiative that hopefully will be ready and adopted by L2s to absorb the demand for the next bullrun. If we can have those demand spikes maintaining low fees on L2, it'll mean that we are a step closer to offering block space for the masses. I also care about Secret (single\non-single) Leader Election. Not knowing who will be the next block proposer is an important property of PoW consensus networks that is particularly difficult to replicate in PoS. Filling the gap will bring back more network resilience. The longterm roadmap (like 4 years, an eternity in crypto) is full of features and improvements to implement in the core protocol. On one hand this is exciting and gives us the confidence of a protocol that doesn't ossify too early - it keeps improving with the competition, with a clear vision. On the other hand, it's scary because we keep "swapping engines" on the fly while responsibilities keep growing along with the economies that Ethereum is securing. Fortunately, the roadmap aims towards base protocol stabilization, with further evolution gradually shifting to L2s. Throughout the journey, the community continues to honour openness, censorship resistance and decentralization. These core values are constantly challenged, but remain strong and intact.
c. Teku has been used as a base for implementing a Merge prototype, which helped defining what today are called the "Engine APIs". One of my first tasks when I joined the team has been to migrate this experiment into a "production grade" implementation. Fortunately the guys at TXRX did a great job and the base was strong! A special shoutout to them! I also took the responsibility of supporting "Builder APIs" in teku (https://github.com/ConsenSys/teku/issues/5396). Shoutout to Stefan Bratanov for being an invaluable partner for achieving this.
e. I want to give a shoutout to Adrian Sutton. It's an honour being part of his team - his level of knowledge and willingness to share it is invaluable. A special thanks also goes to Anton Nashatyrev who helped me from the early stages in the effort of understanding the teku codebase and the Merge, in particular during the Amphora meeting in Greece!
g. Proud and Pumped! 🐼
a. The merge unlocks a key piece for Ethereum light clients: a trust-minimized way to obtain the latest execution block hash. Any data stored on Ethereum can be validated against this block hash, be it account balances, transactions, token exchange rates, NFT metadata, or something else. And because it is possible to track the latest block hash with very little bandwidth and processing requirements, any web browser or mobile wallet can validate the data that it obtains from third-party API servers. Furthermore, smart contract based layer 2 bridges can now validate the data that its oracles push into the contract.
b. Short-term, I'm looking forward to light client adaptation and followup refinements. There is entirely new class of applications that simply were not possible before because the beacon chain's sync committee only started signing the execution block hash with the merge.
Long-term, STARK proofs. They allow anyone to efficiently verify that any given computation was done correctly regardless of its complexity. This is possible at a cryptographically secure level, and also without having access to potentially secret data (zero-knowledge). There is enormous potential in such a technology.
c. Standardizing the libp2p network protocol for exchanging light client data has been surprisingly diverse work. It started by porting the few EF unit tests over to Nim, continued with contributions to Lodestar's MVP, then went back-and-forth over a series of 12 consensus-specs changes, as part of which a Python reference implementation was built (including derivable test vectors), and culminated in an optimized production implementation for Nimbus. I'm proud that light client data is available by default from day 1 of the merge.
d. Designing the light client libp2p network protocol as an optional soft fork led to unexpected challenges. For example, the usual approach of using selection proofs to determine which node is allowed to post to a gossip topic does not work, because the typical selection proofs depend on a message signature, meaning that it would involve web3signer and validator client APIs, potentially even requiring firmware updates for hardware based solutions just so that the additional message types are supported. The light client summit at Devconnect Amsterdam was very productive for finding feasible alternatives.
e. Thanks to @hwwhww for making it through all those consensus-specs PRs
f. Promoting the panda as the universally agreed-on mascot for the Ethereum merge was a recurring theme in the final months leading to the merge. For Nimbus, I hired @beatscribemusic to display panda ASCII art in logs during the merge transition. To experience in full color, run this command in Terminal or in the Windows command prompt:
Furthermore, @dapplion helped me file a consensus-specs PR to require the merge transition block to feature a panda emoji in its graffiti. Somehow, it got rejected. (https://github.com/ethereum/consensus-specs/pull/2875)
a. Entering the Ethereum community in 2017, I quickly got nerd sniped and found myself being immersed in various communities and tech. While young(er) at the time, I still recall the early days of the 90s with various IRC communities and Internet projects being started out of curiosity, positivity and with an idea to explore what was possible, and what struck me was how the Ethereum community had managed to surpass this.
Being able to participate in such an interesting and technically impressive space that I know will have an important and positive impact on the world and at the same time work with the most friendly, passionate, capable, welcoming, genuine and brightest minds in the world is something I truly appreciate, and is the highlight of my career.
My focus on The Merge has primarily been related to security. The attention and desire by everyone I've had the joy of interacting with to help further increase the security of clients, protocols and more has been outstanding. Whenever a new vulnerability was found the client teams were extremely quick to solve it, and during incidents people were equally quick to join in on the efforts to help figure out what had gone wrong and how to fix the issues.
Seeing The Merge finally arrive, after years of discussions, hard work and testing in such a decentralized environment (collaboration and coordination taking place all across the world during every hour of the day) is nothing short of amazing, and I'm very proud to have had some part in helping reduce Ethereum's energy consumption by ~99.95% (https://ethereum.org/en/energy-consumption/). It has been very humbling to to be part of the large group effort that have ensured a successful Merge, and I can't help but feel even more optimistic and excited to be part of everything that's coming next to Ethereum!
b. I'm very much looking forward to increased scalability after The Merge as I believe this is key to mass adoption. Looking on a longer time line, there are many things I'm excited about such as improved censorship-resistance, having adding additional layers of protection for validators, improved user-experience and reduced protocol complexity through single-slot confirmations, implemented statelessness and reduced need for historical data, proposer builder separation, light clients, and time-release cryptography. I'm very excited to see what challenges the post quantum world will bring us.
c. I'm most proud of the work I've done on the Bug Bounty Program (https://bounty.ethereum.org). Some of the work there has been to combine the Execution Layer and Consensus Layer programs, triage reports, increase the bounty rewards and discussing how bug bounty programs can be improved (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6kQYBr8jN8).
e. I also want to mention my admiration for everyone involved in making The Merge a success. Every last one of you are amazing and have been instrumental in moving Ethereum to Proof of Stake.
g. Let's go!
a. Merge is going to be a tremendous stepping stone for putting ethereum on a sustainable security model, which is (hopefully) more decentralised than what the PoW lobby has come to. Decoupling consensus from execution is a master stroke.
b. Danksharding could be the next big milestone which could actually leverage the tremendous number of ethereum validators to scale data allowing L2 to be native apps on ethereum protocol.
c. After an initial handoff, I've lead the merge/bellatrix hardfork effort (since nov 2021), specifically optimistic sync in lodestar (https://github.com/ChainSafe/lodestar/issues/3945) (https://github.com/ChainSafe/lodestar/issues/3731) and builder apis (https://github.com/ChainSafe/lodestar/issues/3953). I also contributed to identifying a liveliness failure condition in optimistic responses while merge transition, as acknowledged in (https://github.com/ethereum/consensus-specs/issues/2732) which resulted in an additional check that asks a client to reject an optimistic merge transition block.
d. While working towards Kintsugi devnet milestones, tons of issues cropped up while interoping lodestar with geth/nethermind and ethereumjs. Some of these belonged to lodestar and some to the execution clients. I helped to debug the issues and coordinated with the teams to get those resolved. (https://github.com/ChainSafe/lodestar/issues/3731).
e. Marek from nethermind (apart from Marius from geth who has always been helpful) has been a go to person for discussions and clarifications on the execution behaviour. Tons of issues we discussed, debugged and sought clarification in the interop channel — thanks to Mikhail for all the clarifications. Good discussions and insights with Terence and Potuz especially regarding optimistic sync, and thanks to JamesHe for pushing on fee recipient. And finally thanks to Dapplion, Cayman and Tuyen for all the support/reviews/feedback/inputs during this entire effort and heartful appreciation for Phil for cheering on!
And of course nonetheless Pari and his team who have become synonymous with TestingTheMerge initiative, seeding a comprehensive testing infra and tools, readily accessible for debugging which literally saved hours on occasions, and pursuing The Merge with a zeal which pulled together client teams on issues and bugs while seeking and deploying the fixes.
f. Once Dapp went to a forest and got bit by a Lion to be called Dapplion! true story or not! lol.
g. Lets go for it and never look back!
a. To me, a successful merge is many things. The fulfillment of a longstanding commitment to energy efficiency. A strong commitment to decentralization of block production. A signal that the ethereum ecosystem is able to adapt and evolve beyond its initial implementation. Proof that the largest and most active blockchain ecosystem can tackle problems at the forefront of blockchain research and development. Carefully but fearlessly advancing the state of the art of public permissionless and decentralized blockchain networks. I believe that in retrospect, the merge will be hailed as the most significant event in blockchain history since the genesis of the bitcoin network. I am humbled to be able to play my part and to be in the company of some of the most bright, committed, ethical, and principled minds in the industry.
b. I am excited for scalability, specifically the enabling of the 'modular blockchain' vision. Where layer 2's become the laboratories of blockchain, where different tradeoffs can be made to support different use cases, all while leveraging the security and credible neutrality of the base ethereum layer.
c. My proudest and most fun merge related work for me was the early work on making besu an execution client. Starting with the hackathon on the initial Rayonism branch, the subsequent refactoring work, and especially the Amphora hackathon. In retrospect, as an introduction to blockchain protocol development, it was a dreamy crucible.
d. Death by a thousand tiny concurrency issues with besu's new database storage format (bonsai) was undoubtedly the biggest challenge. We viewed Besu's bonsai db format as a key differentiator, enabling lower I/O and storage footprint for mainnet nodes. However, we encountered unexpected concurrency challenges, and the merge created a few new concurrency scenarios. The net result was a steady stream of new and different storage related defects.
e. There are so many people across many teams deserving of a shoutout, and since I am sure others will shoutout Tim, Danny, Mikhail, Marius, and Pari - I will give a shoutout to our own Karim Taam for his work in besu. Karim is a hard working, unassuming, and brilliant engineer that is behind most of the challenging and differentiating features in besu. Karim has been crucial for delivering and supporting bonsai tries, snap-sync support, and checkpoint sync just to name a few. I admire his focus, determination, humor, and zero drama demeanor. Merci beaucoup
a. Looking back, I must really say that it felt like I was constantly in a hurry. Erigon started last and I needed to be fast in implementing the Engine API. I had to make the block production mechanism actually feasible and I had to re-implement various incomplete components in that regard. It was constantly a hurry, no code worked fine as no effort was made prior. There was little to no thinking about integrating block production or to support PoS architecture. I probably touched all components in the Erigon and Erigon-lib codebases, I fixed and found bugs that ranged from the most minor issue to full blown consensus failure. All said and done, I believe that It made me more knowledgeable of the mess that the core-protocol is, as I had to to touch almost all part of it at some point, so it was quite beneficial.
b. In the next 2 years, I would like to see EIP-4444 and Verkle trees come to fruition, I think that it is very important. In the next 4 years, I would like to see Sharding come to light and finally have Ethereum scale above and beyond.
c. The entire Erigon Post-Merge Architecture (https://hackmd.io/@4_PBxu6jQtO7qASCOn0H6w/SJUyNkuA9). I am particularly proud of it because, within the team, nobody thought it was a good idea at first to be this invasive in the codebase. However, it turned out to be actually a very good idea, as we would not be as stable. I am also particularly proud of it as: I had no time to think about it, it was made in a hurry and the final result was satisfactory. other client teams had years to prepare, but I had only 6 months.
d. I could go on forever, but here's most hellish one: I had a bug that I could not figure out for 1.5 months as it came out only very rarely. It completely halted Erigon, which meant it was critical but near impossible to reproduce (approximately it came out once every 3 weeks). I had so many theories and none of them worked (e.g. bad in-memory execution, database corruption, etc...), but as it turns out I was not indexing transactions correctly when a side fork block was already present (https://github.com/ledgerwatch/erigon/pull/3538).
e. I would like to give a big shoutout to Marius Van Der Wijden, he basically helped with everything, including the all important hive tests which. He developed Go-Ethereum Merger which is as vital as Go-Ethereum as the most important and used Execution Layer out there.
f. I fixed a critical bug found thanks to Banteg's immeasurable passion for Hentai. The story is as follows: Paul Hauner (from Lighthouse) found invalid blocks on Goerli from a validator that was making graffiti walls. Erigon was having a similar issue on Mainnet Shadow Fork 11, so it was assumed that it was Erigon. At that point Terence (from Prysm), had the deduction that it was Banteg, which was dedicating himself to his most favorite craft of all: Hentai. Banteg was trying to draw Hentai on the Goerli Graffiti wall and was running 2000 validators to do so. So Terence contacted Banteg and we had confirmation. I then fixed the bug the same day. And that is how the great craft of reposting Hentai saved the day and made "The Merge" safer.
g. I am very happy about it, and I am eager to see Ethereum finally win.
a. I had a call with Danny Ryan before we started, and made the case that the transition as simple and feature-poor as possible. The intent was to learn from previous attempts at major network upgrades, which were systematically thwarted by the complexities inherent to a distributed decision-making process. Danny Ryan was of a similar mindset, and this is how we decided on what became this "temporary" dual-client architecture.
b. In the next 2 years, I'm looking forward to stateless Ethereum opening the network to a wider range of applications by making it cheaper to interact with Ethereum. In short, fulfilling all the requirements for Ethereum to become mainstream. In the next 4 years, I'm looking forward to zk applications to make Ethereum truly private, save democracy and eventually the whole universe ;)
c. With Mikhail Kalinin, I implemented the first dual-client prototype, using teku and geth - renamed catalyst for the occasion (https://github.com/txrx-research/eth1-shard-demo).
d. Nothing that I encountered personally, but we (the geth team) found a critical bug in what was supposed to be the last release before the merge. It turned out to be some database optimization made for after the merge, and a very, very subtle issue. Peter saved the day by reading a comment left by Gary and realizing what was up (storage and account tries were saved out-of-order), and we released the fix within a day.
e. Mikhail Kalinin of course, first and foremost. Nothing would have happened without his competence, patience and kindness. On the geth side, Gary Rong is the unsung hero of catalyst: he took my prototype and turned it into a production-ready client. Peter also did a wonderful job with the sync. The whole geth team worked really hard to make this happen in the shadow.
f. The name catalyst comes from Mass Effect, a game in which the 'geths' are the bad guys, and the discovery of an ancient device 'catalyst' by the main character, kickstarts the whole adventure. To my knowledge, I am the only current member of the Geth team who played Mass Effect. I didn't like the game.
g. hopefully in this order: panic, relief, elation
a. The Merge is sending a positive message for sustainable development. It creates a foundation for people to build other new features on Ethereum.
b. (1) L1 data sharding + L2 rollups that make Ethereum has high performance. (2) More use cases with light clients
c. I work on consensus-specs and spec test vectors for CL clients. But somehow my most notable contribution might be the merge panda meme...? I didn't expect it would be that popular. It was fun to see how the Ethereum community loves cute animals! 🐼
d. The fork choice edge cases. We think about the worst case that could happen on the network. It keeps me awake at night.
e. Shout out to Danny Ryan for his leadership, communications, and other support. Shout out to Trent Van Epps and co for helping with the sustainability of Ethereum infrastructure. Shout out to Tim Beiko and many amazing people behind the scenes for making core devs' life easier. Shout out to Ben Edgington for the incredible What's New in Eth2, meeting notes, and being a pillar of strength to Eth2/CL and more.
f. The CL fork code name "Bellatrix" was nominated by @Sacha Saint-Leger, and got selected by the consensus of Pooja Ranjan, Shubhangi Gokhale, and myself. Now I have mixed feelings about "Bellatrix" for what she has done in Harry Potter.
a. A long journey, but one not yet ended. eth2 has been the opportunity to build a system that can sustain itself in time and space
b. The current design has left many scars of transition away from PoW that has made Ethereum incredibly complex. Cutting away the excess fat and continuing on the journey to make it accessible to a broader audience and sustainable across a broader set of metrics will be key to it staying alive.
e. This time around, my thoughts of appreciation go out to the client teams - two worlds, execution and consensus, represented by several teams, each with their own culture and quirks that have settled over years, had to come together and perform a delicate surgery on a living patient. This is an amazing achievement of human cooperation and flexibility.
g. More to come
a. The Merge has been described as changing a jet engine in mid-flight; it has been an honor to play a small part in such a monumental effort. To me the shift to PoS is just one step of many for building the next exciting set of internet tools; there are so many cool interesting applications that wouldn't be possible without blockchain technology.
b. With the Merge complete, it paves the way towards tackling the next round of opportunities, specifically in data availability and scalability. Aside from bringing security and ownership, there are so many other new capabilities that a web3 built on Ethereum enables. It's important to work on scaling the infrastructure in a manageable way so that more people can participate at a cheaper cost without compromising on our core values.
c. I think the Keymanager APIs (https://github.com/ethereum/keymanager-APIs) although it's a small contribution in the grand scheme of things it was my first collaboration across client teams / the community. This was the feature that got me connected to so many people I talk to daily today.
e. I'd like to give a shoutout to Raul Jordan, he was core to the reason why I joined crypto in the first place. It all started from small talk while playing a popular trading card game at a local game store. At the time I didn't realize that one could write applications on the block chain and thought that the digital currencies were just that, just money on the internet. We had kept in touch over the years and during the pandemic i took the leap of faith and never looked back.
g. Just The Beginning
a. The move to PoS is a key stepping stone towards Ethereum fulfilling its mission of settling the internet of value. We need best-in-class security and efficiency, and that's exactly what the merge delivers.
Many of us greatly underestimated how long it would take to ship full PoS. That may sound like a bad thing but with hindsight it was a gift. The long journey gave us the opportunity to radically improve the designs, with breakthroughs spread over almost half a decade. It also gave us the naivety to persist through the many challenges and eventually get through the finish line.
Ethereum is such a wholesome, multidisciplinary, and fast-growing project that contributions naturally evolve over time. I started off as a researcher, narrowly focused on open crypto-economic problems. It's been a pleasure to diversify with spec writing, applied cryptography, as well as technical coordination, hiring, and education.
b. There's still so much to build—many years of fun ahead of us! As of today September 7, 2022 ethtps.info reports a 19.70 TPS average over the last month. Those are clearly rookie numbers for a global internet settlement layer. I can't wait to witness the inevitable orders-of-magnitude explosion with sharding and rollups.
Having said that, my mindset as an L1 researcher and coordinator will heavily lean towards security. Secure blockspace is the product Ethereum delivers and there's roughly a dozen exciting security upgrades that remain to ship (from PBS to zkEVM) for WW3-resistance, each one being a crypto-economic and coordination challenge.
c. Proud to have helped onboard folks like Pari and Proto who greatly contributed towards merge testing and coordination. I'm also glad to have helped set up the EF in-house security team and think through post-merge attack vectors and mitigations, especially around MEV.
I also appreciate the teamwork with Bankless to educate the Ethereum-curious around the merge and its implications, though there still remains such a massive opportunity for mainstream outreach.
d. A challenge for many of us is burnout. We are so passionate and the work is so meaningful that it's an easy trap to fall into. Pace yourself, it's a marathon not a sprint.
e. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the whole team—only roughly 100 full-time people—that helped pull this through. Special respect for those who step up as coordinators and hats off to Tim Beiko for taking the coordination game to a new level.
f. In a 2018 Techcrunch panel I got pushback for suggesting phases 0, 1, 2 (PoS, data sharding, execution sharding) could come in 2019, 2020, 2021 respectively. People argued such a timeline was too conservative 🤣
g. ultra sound money
a. This is a truly noble endeavor. What I am most proud of is the sheer force of will it required as a community. I believe PoS is the correct security mechanism from both a technical and a moral perspective. Executing it is a great example of choosing to do the right thing despite it being hard, big and complicated. Because we didn’t have to do this—it was avoidable. We could have just… not. Instead, we persevered; coordinated and cooperated over many years and stayed on-mission. I’m proud of the discipline that required.
b. L2s gonna take off. Will we see L1 traffic drop because so much of it has migrated to L2s? Modular blockchains could be the ‘cheat code’ that’s needed to solve the scaling trilema—which is a pretty intractable problem, so that will be fun to watch. My personal short term goals include working on EOF implementation in Besu. I’ve gotten to know the Besu EVM pretty well (shoutout Danno Ferrin, who was a big help on that) and am excited for the comprehensive improvement that comes with EOF.
A little further out, as the next market cycle starts, I hope that decentralization becomes the default; that projects appreciate how decentralization and the transparency that comes with it can save projects from the worst avarices of capitalism. With the rise of MoonMath and zk rollups, we will start to solve many of the privacy-related problems we currently have. And I look forward to privacy also being normalized. When it is, I hope that we can avoid forfeiting transparency. That transparency allows people to steer clear of problematic projects. Will a white paper truly be auditable if the implementations are protected with zk technologies?
d. It was a challenge of character. I started developing on Besu full time in May 2021. EIP-1559 was in peak development and the first All Core Devs call that I was on featured Vitalik presenting Verkle Tries for the first time. I managed to avoid having a panic attack, but “WTF have you gotten yourself into?” was definitely running through my mind. The imposter syndrome descended like a dark veil. But here’s the thing—everyone in the core community was incredibly welcoming. I just put one foot in front of the other, leaned on my awesome Besu team when I needed to and got over it. We’re all on the crest of this wave together; none of us have it all figured out.
e. My Besu team! They rock and I can’t believe we delivered big new features like Bonsai storage, SnapSync and CheckpointSync while simultaneously preparing for merge. Attempting that was kind of a huge reach, and I admire the courage that took. More broadly, tons of people at or near the EF have been incredibly welcoming and I really appreciate those that have gotten me more involved: Tim, Trent, Pari, Marius, Danny, etc. have made me and the Besu team feel at home every time we meet. I admire the leadership style they have cultivated and I love watching it spread.
g. Let’s. Fuckin’. Go!
a. Moving to proof-of-stake lays the foundation for lots of new and exciting technologies that will be developed in the coming years. I'm very happy that we are moving away from such an energy intensive consensus mechanism. I've always been told to work smarter not harder, and that's what PoS feels like. Ethereum under PoW is not sustainable. For the sake of future generations, I'm very happy to be a part of this transition.
b. I'm most excited to see enshrined proposer builder separation (PBS) and single slot finality (SSF). The current system lacks the trustlessness that I want to see in Ethereum. Since there is a financial incentive to do so, I expect a lot of validators to use external builders after the merge, so I'd like to see this done correctly. SSF will result in a more intuitive, nicer user experience. From a technical point of view, it seems a lot cleaner than the current method of finality. It could reduce complexity in the consensus clients and shrink an important attack surface.
c. I'm particularly proud of this bid comparison bug (https://notes.ethereum.org/@jtraglia/bid_comparison_bug) that I found in mev-boost. It was a subtle issue that could have been exploited to win bids with very low bid values. I like to imagine someone else would have found it before the merge, but who knows. It sparked my interest in MEV which has been a lot of fun to explore.
e. I would like to thank Adrian Sutton for all of his help. His guidance/reviews/answers are always well-thought-out and good spirited. I appreciate the detail in his writing and the way he conveys technical concepts. He is an excellent software architect/developer that makes my job finding bugs difficult, but that's a good thing! I aspire to be more like Adrian.
g. Excited, Tested, Happy (ETH)
a. I am happy I was able to make some small contributions to the merge. It's such a significant research and engineering feat; I've been beyond impressed with the core folks who pushed this through.
b. For the 12 months leading up to the merge, nearly all attention has been on the merge. Before that, it was 6-8 months focused solely on EIP-1559. I think the short-term post-merge is similarly laid out. Shanghai will almost certainly include an EIP to enable validator withdrawals, and possibly EIP-4844. After EIP-4844, verkle migration is next. That easily covers the first 2 years after the merge. Probably more. The biggest question is how much can we parallelize these efforts with other hopeful EIPs, such as the Ethereum Object Format (EOF). I think it is extremely important that we improve our capacity to change different parts of the system in parallel.
On the longer term horizon, I am excited about stateless clients and data availability sampling. Stateless clients are critical to ensuring users around the world can continue fully validating Ethereum, even as the state size continues growing. Data availability sampling is obviously the key to unlocking substantial data throughput improvements on Ethereum. However, building an efficient and resilient p2p network to provide these samples is non-trivial. I think this could be the next great challenge in Ethereum.
c. I'm proud I was able to help get the Builder API up off the ground early in 2022. MEV is an extremely centralizing force, so not having a mechanism to allow at-home stakers to extract it would've led some to retreat to centralized solutions (https://github.com/ethereum/builder-specs).
d. I found building end-to-end tests to be very difficult. I spent a fair bit of time trying to create a simulator in Hive when mimicked the merge, PoW included, and there are simply so many moving pieces. We're really fortunate to have people like Mario and Pari testing a lot of this stuff.
e. So many people to name, but I think Mario Vega deserves a huge shout-out. He has been grinding out merge tests for well over a year at this point. His simulator on Hive is basically the defacto "does our client do the merge correctly" checker.
f. Too many.
g. weeks not months™
a. Biggest hardfork yet. Completely changing application flow in execution clients. Makes Ethereum more resistant to censorship, bans, politics and power crisis. Overall it was a huge effort from the community. The complexity is really big.
On the downside makes it more complicated, both internally and to the users.
b. I would really want to see scaling solutions mature and deliver, to the point of more and more mainstream adoption.
c. The initial Rayonism prototype was hacked together in less than 2 weeks (https://github.com/NethermindEth/nethermind/pull/2981).
d. Some challenges were post-merge sync and all the potential scenarios it creates. Like dangling blocks - blocks sent by consensus client, that we don't yet have ancestors for.
e. Marek Moraczyński was a driving force for the Nethermind merge initiative for most of the project.
g. anxiety and stress
a. As someone who is relatively new to Ethereum, witnessing hundreds of people working together to ensure a smooth and successful transition to Proof of Stake has been incredible. The Merge really epitomizes decentralized collaboration like no other project ever has. I am grateful to be a part of it.
b. I think the most exciting part about the future of Ethereum is there is no shortage of ideas and improvements. We've got Sharding, Statelessness, Zero-Knowledge just to name a few. There is so much more Ethereum to be made.
c. Regarding work that I'm proud of, I'd have to point to my post on the Lighthouse blog regarding attestation packing performance (https://lighthouse-blog.sigmaprime.io/attestation-packing.html).
e. Shoutouts to @paulhauner. The man is an absolute machine while also being one of the kindest and most genuine people I know in Ethereum.
g. wen merge? Now
a. First of all, the work toward the Merge felt like a tour de force in synchronization and project management. Around 10 teams were involved, managed to virtually sit down and set to solve problems after problems even though hundreds of billions dollars are at risk. Traditional companies would have balked at such odds.
The benefits are clear: significantly reducing the carbon footprint of the network, aligning long-term those who secure it with those who use it and removing economies of scale to remove one vector of centralization.
b. Obviously I will be pretty excited to see withdrawals for stakers. Then Proposer-Builder Separation to hopefully solve MEV once and for all, which is another vector of centralization. I'm quite excited about sharding and its implementation as well to solve other often cited issues of Ethereum: throughput and gas costs. Community-wise I really hope there will be a big focus on UI and onboarding, communities like Ethstaker are awesome and we need more of these.
g. We got this
a. Ethereum's energy consumption will be reduced by ~99.95%
b. Stateless Ethereum
e. Shoutout to: my Nethermind Core team, all other client & testing teams. Parithosh for running all devnets & shadowforks. Mikhail Kalinin for the spec and discord answers. Mario Vega for amazing hive tests.
EF Protocol Support
a. I have always considered switching to PoS a tremendous task. But the inefficiency of naive PoW chains and potential benefits make it well worth the effort. When I saw the Ethereum community starting to push towards the Merge, getting ready to overcome this challenge, I stopped worrying and learned to love The Merge. Decentralized community being able to accomplish this on a scale like Ethereum can be an inspiration for everyone. The next level of security has been reached, complexity conquered while the network is still chugging and nobody can ever argue again that it's not possible. Even though my contributions were rather minor, it was an honor to take part and collaborate with people who were committed to seeing The Merge achieved. Each of these contributors demonstrated to the world what a community like the Ethereum one is capable of.
b. The whole Ethereum roadmap is very exciting. I am eager to make sure the protocol continues to scale while everyone is able to use it on personal laptop. Short term thanks to proposals like 4844 but especially for the long run with danksharding, history and state expiry. Same goes for validators. Merge brings the most robust PoS network with validators all over the globe. I believe this will bring new crucial challenges for decentralization and censorship resistance. I am excited to see progress on PBS, improving signature aggregation, decentralized staking pools.
a. It's been a time of amazing collaboration to bring this to fruition. It was a complete paradigm shift for testing since, for Ethereum, the approach had always been a single-chain. Leading up to the Merge, there are two chains, each with their own clients interacting with each other. These interactions required interesting changes to the existing testing approaches. As for the arrival of PoS consensus to Ethereum, I've personally anticipated this since before joining the EF, as an user. Now, as a contributing developer, it's amazing to finally see it come to fruition!
b. I'm excited about the beacon chain bringing new capabilities to the Ethereum ecosystem. I want to see EIP-4844 and, eventually, Danksharding, come to life. It's going to be amazing.
c. Bringing hive (https://github.com/ethereum/hive/) into the mix for merge testing and creating a simulator that drove the forkchoice using the new Engine API for testing purposes. I learned golang from scratch while writing that (and now it's one of my favorite languages!). (https://github.com/ethereum/hive/tree/master/simulators/ethereum/engine)
d. The new forkchoice rules were unexpectedly complex for me. Right at the point of the merge, there are so many things to consider forkchoice-wise when going from one consensus algo to another one.
e. Marius and Paritosh have been so fundamental to properly testing everything that it's really hard to imagine we would have made it without them. Mikhail helped us so much with his spec for the tests, most of which discovered super interesting issues.
f. The merge is happening on Mexican Independence Day (September 15th), so we were having a party in my country anyway, but now the party must be Merge themed!
g. PoW no more!
a. I think I said to Danny in Greece that this will be the biggest thing, regarding environmental and probably social impact, that I will ever be part off. I am very grateful to be part of such a change and I hope I made a positive contribution to it. A really cool thing we started with the Merge testing efforts were the shadow forks. For the first time we could test our code with real state and real transaction load. This really improved our testing ability and our confidence in the software. Another really great thing we started with the work on the merge were the interop events. Greece was a great catalyst for really get going with the software and Amsterdam was similarly positive for pushing the testing efforts.
b. I am very exited about Proto-Danksharding for finally making Rollups rank 1 citizens within Ethereum. Another thing I'm very excited about is that we will finally have a bit of breathing room to refactor our code. The last year has been very busy so some much needed refactors got benched. Some EIPs that I'm excited about in the short term also address this technical debt, like removing the selfdestruct opcode or history expiry.
I'm a bit fearful about the regulation coming out over the next years, but I am very confident in the Ethereum community to fight against Censorship and for sensible regulation. I am also looking forward to a slow ossification of the base layer. With Proof-of-Stake, Verkle and Sharding, the big updates of the base layer should be done and we can really focus on hardening the base layer against nation states.
c. I'm kinda proud of pushing the merge within the geth team. Guillaume, Peter and Gary have contributed more code, but I think I left my mark by pulling everything together. I am also proud of the #TestingTheMerge effort which, while not actually finding that many bugs, brought a bunch of cool people from the community together to test, write documentation, setup clients and educate users about the merge.
d. I rewrote a bunch of hive sync tests which took me more than three weeks on and off, since it is very difficult to make a geth node produce bad blocks. Basically we needed two nodes, an attacker node that produces bad blocks and feeds them to the victim node (https://github.com/ethereum/hive/pull/560).
e. Man so many people! Paritosh for his incredible work on setting up testnets, devnets and shadow forks; Danny and Mikhail for writing the spec and tirelessly answering my stupid questions about it; But I think my biggest shoutout needs to go to Mario Vega who built the hive test suites that found so many intricate bugs in our implementation.
f. In Greece during the interop event we stayed in a really nice five star hotel. However the hotel was a vacation hotel not a business hotel so our meeting room was in the basement with very little natural light. Imagine 40+ developers hunched over their laptops for > 10h straight in a small room. After the third day of continuously working with short breaks for food I made the decision to take a break after lunch to go to the beach for 1 hour and work from there, otherwise I would've gone insane :D
g. Exhausted but happy
a. The Merge is both a technical merging of two chains, but it was also very much a Merge of two different camps. One camp is the old guard; engineers from the EL clients who have been working on the mainnet chain for years. This camp knows a lot about practical engineering. The other camp is the research-side who had dreamed up this whole new abstraction, and were going about the implementation-phase in a much more rigorous and coordinated way than how things happened back in the early days of 1.0. And the merging of these two groups was, at least for me, largely done in the meet-up in Greece back in October -21. This "social merge" of groups was very nice to be a part of, and I think it was very successful.
The importance of PoS cannot be overstated -- I think every single Ethereum developer has had PoS on their 'mental' roadmap since day one. I think a lot of us simply would not have wanted to be associated with a pure proof-of-work-indefinitely chain, and Ethereum would not have become what it is today, had that promise not been made.
b. Obviously, a lot of things can or may happen going forward. Improvements to the EVM are nice and cute, but there are a couple of hard problems that still need to be solved, and I think the largest and hardest is managing state. To manage state state-growth, we need statelessness. I think this is a very difficult problem: solving it will impact and reshape the whole stack from the ground up.
e. Mario Vega -- he came new into the testing team, and led the effort of creating tests as if he'd never done anything else. Marius Van der Wijden -- a newcomer to the geth-team, he stepped up and handled a lot of merge-related work. Danny Ryan -- Danny's leadership and coordination-skills are top notch. His contribution to PoS cannot be overstated.
g. let's go already
a. It makes Ethereum a sustainable and more scalable ecosystem
b. Next 1-2 years I expect to see the community embracing and adopting the new ecosystem (More participants, more usage and new experiments). Next 4 years I expect the ecosystem to scale and become open to new use cases (Especially those who were limited because of the eth1 architecture limitations, especially gas fees).
c. I am actively working on Teku development. My contribution can be seen in the github repo (https://github.com/ConsenSys/teku).
d. I would say the huge amount of resources to digest in order to get a clear view of the whole ecosystem (Unexpected complexity, steep learning curve)
e. Ben Edgington for his amazing writings (Especially the eth2 book: Upgrading Ethereum) and online content. Adrian Sutton, Paul Harris, Enrico Del Fante, Stefan Bratanov, Dmitry Shmatko and Lucas Saldanha for helping me on my daily tasks, reviewing my PRs and welcoming me to the team.
f. I like the Panda but still don't know how it's related to the merge
g. Excited, proud, confident
a. The Merge is the culmination of years of intense research and engineering efforts by so many contributors around the globe. It's heartwarming to think that this core group of people is making such a strong positive difference on the future of our planet. I've always been embarrassed by the negative impact this ground-breaking technology had on our planet, but now feel so relieved. We've finally made Ethereum a sustainable platform for the world to use! Farewell miners!
b. I'm really looking forward to the security testing work that will be related to EIP-4844. We have some very interesting security assessments lined up over the coming months that will help ensure danksharding's security posture is second to none.
c. The Merge interop event in Greece was a wonderful gathering that helped us save months of async communications!
e. Paul Hauner. He's been instrumental in helping us get where we are today. We owe him so much!
g. excited and relieved
a. I think helping to facilitate Ethereum's move to PoS will probably be the greatest positive impact I have on the earth's climate in my life. This is one of the main reasons I got involved with Lighthouse 3 years ago and I am overjoyed to see our plans come to fruition. In a way, the merge is like any other large engineering project, with many technical details to specify, implement and optimise. However it's also unlike anything else: a revolutionary change to the world's largest open financial system, coordinated across dozens of timezones and teams. I am very grateful to have worked on this alongside the wonderful contributors to this book.
b. I'm looking forward to continually improving Lighthouse so that it remains performant as the network grows. I'm excited about shipping some variant of proto-danksharding to scale roll-ups, but also improvements to the core consensus like PBS and single-slot finality. I think mitigating MEV and incentivising timely block production will be interesting challenges to sink our teeth into post-merge.
c. I'm proud of my PR to elide finalized execution payloads from Lighthouse's database. This required some magic using ethers-rs to reconstruct them on-demand (https://github.com/sigp/lighthouse/pull/3157).
e. I'd like to give a shout out to Potuz, who is a welcome new addition to the group of consensus devs. His pursuit of rigour in protocol design is inspiring, and his contributions to fork choice design and implementation have had tremendous impact.
Tech Writing and Ops Lead
a. PoS brings us one step closer to sustainable economics! It's another opportunity to have conversations about the bigger picture - what are we building, and why are we building it? How do we "start with utopia, and work backwards to the mechanism design"?
b. 1-2 years: Making it easier for folks of all kinds to participate. Improving cross-team collaboration and communication protocols. Pulling Ethereum along the technology adoption curve towards mainstream adoption. Building crisp documentation for both users and engineers. Simplifying validator UX. Streamlining the developer experience. Building demonstrations of the capabilities we're unlocking. Abstracting technical concerns away for nontechnical users. Decentralized social media that feels healthier (and more fun) than traditional social media.
4 years: Using the technology to build games that shake incumbent systems and power structures. Sustainable economics. Progressively decentralized ownership of technology. Unlocking new forms of creativity, social innovation, nonviolent resistance. Discovering new use-cases for ZK tech, optimistic tech, and other scaling solutions. UBI. Public goods. Privacy-preserving proof-of-humanity. Experiments in governance systems that could render the role of traditional politicians obsolete. Traditional politicians seeing this future and embracing it. Experiments that separate financial power from political power.
In general, I see Ethereum as a nascent political movement currently dressed as a technology movement. Over the next 4-5 years, I'd love to see the network focus more explicitly on reducing unnecessary suffering without becoming explicitly political.
c. I feel good about our new quickstart because it pulls EL + CL + JWT guidance into a beginner-friendly, self-contained guide: (https://docs.prylabs.network/docs/install/install-with-script) - I'm also proud of our Merge prep guidance: (https://docs.prylabs.network/docs/prepare-for-merge), and our "Nodes and networks" concept doc: (https://docs.prylabs.network/docs/concepts/nodes-networks) - Each of these pieces was produced in a somewhat decentralized manner: the content traveled from one team member / user to the next, incorporating perspectives until we hit the point of diminishing returns.
d. User experience has been tough. I'm realizing that most users (even technical users) just want easy buttons - "People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole." We have to constantly remind ourselves that there are lots of completely nontechnical users out there who want the satisfaction of participating in Ethereum's story, but who can't easily participate until we sufficiently abstract some of the complexity away.
For example, node runners need to be familiar with the concept of JWT authentication. Until we can find some way to absorb this concern into the product, nontechnical users will have to learn and think about JWT. This introduces engineering complexity, friction for users, and opportunity costs for everyone. We ended up implementing JWT generation into Prysm's beacon node client specifically so that the Prysm quickstart could be self-contained, but the complexity that arises from conditionally caring about JWT (depending on Prysm version, network, pre-merge vs post-merge, etc) can be daunting to nontechnical folks, and remains a challenge.
I often find myself wondering if we should we build a cross-platform omniclient that gives nontechnical folks a stupid-simple way to run a node + validator. I'm envisioning a "thin layer" that wraps around all CL/EL clients, magically preconfiguring random client combinations without exposing any technical details (not even the names of clients) to anyone but power users. Users would just "run node, optionally deposit funds" - 2 CTAs, no config. This is a UX challenge that I'm looking forward to thinking about more post-Merge (anyone interested in collabbing?)
e. Shoutout to Thorsten Behrens for constantly helping users of all clients work through the technical aspects of running a node/validator, and for providing feedback on our docs/UX decisions.
Much love to Somer Esat for inspiring me to run a node (and then transition my career into Ethereum) with his super crisp guides.
g. Bullish af
a. It's a long fascinating journey towards the biggest upgrade in the blockchain history ever. I am very proud to be a part of it! The Merge project proves Ethereum Community is powerful and progressive enough to accomplish big challenges and makes us confident that next big milestones of Ethereum Roadmap like Sharding are achievable.
b. I am very excited about further Consensus Layer upgrades towards full Sharding solutions (EIP4844, in-protocol proposer/builder separation, data availability sampling) and Statelessness. In the next 4 years I am also eager to see simplification or deprecation of the fork choice rule and other related improvements to the protocol coming under "single slot finality" umbrella. And of course, a lot of L2 solutions utilizing the Ethereum Data Layer, with different governance and purposes facilitating wider adoption of blockchain technology. In particular, I would love to see fully functioning ZK-EVM rollup.
c. The first couple of EIPs that I am a co-author of: EIP3675, EIP4399. Contributions to Engine API and Bellatrix consensus specs. Idea of leaving everything on Execution Layer with exception for PoW that came to my mind one day. All of these wouldn't be possible without constant support of other Ethereum researchers, client developers, devops and testing engineers and many other members from the community which I am proud to be a part of!
d. This is my first big project in the Ethereum research space. Thus, a lot of things were difficult, including coordination, asking for feedback, communication with developers, always staying on top of everything that is going on around the Merge in order to not miss any even small detail, helping others understand the specification, find blind spots in it ... and finally deliver!
e. Danny Ryan for huge support, valuable inputs and coordination. Guillaume Ballet for making EL client prototype on the very early stage. Vitalik for a lot of things, and for finding a brilliant approach to the Merge transition process in particular. Diederik Loerakker (Proto) for Rayonism project and devops/tooling foundation. Marius van der Wijden for #TestingTheMerge. Parithosh Jayanthi for a ton of Merge testnets. Ben Edgington for encouraging me all the way
g. IT'S HAPPENING!!!!!!!!!!
a. Doc may seem to be secondary... but it's what makes users use our tools. I've been a Besu Dev since the beginning and thought I was more valuable in making user experience the best with good doc. The merge is the reason why I'm working on Ethereum. PoS is what I've been waiting for since 2015. Seeing it happen now is very exciting and being able to help is just amazing for me. I would have never believed if anyone had told me like 5y ago.
b. I think that PoS will change the storytelling around Ethereum. We are currently under heavy fire from the traditional world for many reasons including energy consumption. This will not be an argument anymore. It will help discussion to go farther and with the demonstrated achievement (many still think the merge will fail, so we'll show them wrong), many critiques about us not keeping promises will also fall. We will still have some haters but now we will also be confident that we can really do things and gosh we have things to do. My most wanted feature right after the merge is strangely not stake withdrawal but privacy because it will bring back all the people who are afraid of being public (for good reasons considering what the traditional world is heading to...). 4 years is very long, it's the same length of time I've been working for Consensys. I can't imagine what we will have done in 4 years but I know it will be awesome. If we are 40% done with Ethereum's roadmap with the merge, I think we could be 80% done in 4y and perhaps more on our current roadmap of course... because we will probably add more stuff to the roadmap. Anyone who creates something like this and tells people it's finished is lying. Changes and updates, forks, soft or not, are part of our way to make progress. Adapt. And if one thing, scaling and reducing fees are probably the next most important change for us to make Ethereum really a thing for regular people. Plus I'm so excited that so many people can work together like we do that I really don't want to let that stop.
c. All the work around Besu and Teku doc
d. Writing the doc requires an understanding of eips, the client source code, the concepts (and yes it's hard, hopefully we have great people helping us). Writing a Beau or Teku merge related doc PR is hard, but reviewing one also requires a global vision and knowledge of testing procedures. You need to put yourself in place of users who may have been inactive for years. But it's so intellectually rewarding that understanding the problem is worthwhile.
e. Karim Taam: he's silent and humble, but does amazing work on Besu. I consider him as the reason why Beau will succeed at being an EL client on the pos chain.
f. I'm still unsure that I will have the right private key once withdrawal will be possible... Hopefully I will. I made a leap of faith with this and yes, it's probably the first time I do something that stupid on just a belief that WAGMI. Funny? Not sure...
g. So f****** excited!
a. Reducing the energy consumed by the protocol is always a good thing. The main thing the merge would signal would be the ability for the ethereum protocol to evolve, POS has been tabled for a long time and the ability to finally bring it to fruition is a great achievement.
b. Stronger network layer privacy guarantees would be an important improvement to the current functioning of the network. Currently, consensus network privacy is insufficient for how we want the network to function. Along with that, having Data Availibility Sampling would be a great goal to achieve as it unlocks the full potential of applications/rollups building on top of ethereum.
c. (https://github.com/prysmaticlabs/prysm/pull/10696) - for the upcoming merge I worked on a tool to deliver the ability to run specific scenarios that we want to run. This was important so as to be able to test specific faults in the network and how prysm would handle them.
d. Difficulty is definitely heightened with current execution and consensus client relationship. Handling all the different ways an execution client can fail gracefully was a challenge, compounded by the fact that specific clients can function in different ways.
e. Potuz has been a critical part of our merge work in Prysm, constantly analyzing prysm and other clients and finding all kinds of issues on testnets. Without him, Prysm wouldn't be anywhere close to where we are now for the merge.
g. Lets ship it
a. Ethereum is an insanely powerful tool for humanity, but the energy use criticisms are real and cannot be ignored. In a world with inequality and worsening climate change effects felt largely in the global south, we cannot afford to continue this waste. The move to PoS aims to provide all the benefits of Ethereum with a massive reduction in energy use as well as a huge gain in security. This shift was to be achieved with the Merge and I was extremely motivated to be a part of it.
It was quite apparent early on, that the Merge brought with it technical as well as co-ordination challenges. Teams that had been quite isolated had to now work together at a massive scale. I saw this as an opportunity to contribute, using quite a few principles of DevOps I hoped to help with shared testnets, config platforms and tooling that gave dev teams the feedback they needed to progress with building stable clients.
Efforts like #TestingTheMerge were an amazing way to involve the community early on - the overlap with the shared testnets was quite high and it felt like a natural progression to help out. The feedback we received was extremely useful, showcasing how amazing community involvement can be. It's been a surreal journey and a humongous pleasure to be a part of such a monumental effort. Every single client team has burnt an amazing amount of midnight oil to ship the Merge and I'm extremely proud to have debugged testnets alongside this lot!
b. I'm extremely excited to see progress on Verkle trees and stateless clients: reducing the barrier of trust would go a long way in increasing usability and decentralization of the network. I think EIP-4444 is another such upgrade that's going to be needed for large scale mainstream adoption, especially a few years down the line.
I am hopeful that in 4 years we're going to see better usecases building for regular users all over the world. We need to use Ethereum where it can lead to most good and help foster a more united global community.
c. I'm extremely proud of the >30 testnets we had for the merge, they all reused this repository: (https://github.com/parithosh/consensus-deployment-ansible). I made a conscious effort to write ansible playbooks that could be made generic with dependencies on modular tools. I was happy to learn that some client teams and external participants could fork and re-use them for their own testnet automation.
Shadow forks have been another great testing tool over the past months. They began as a random idea Marius van der Wijden had. Rafael, Marius and I got on a call one evening and we decided to try it out - with varying degrees of success. I think we got it right on the second or third attempt and it was extremely clear that its going to be a wonderful testing tool. I'm really happy that we managed to find a large number of bugs that probably would have plagued us on Mainnet otherwise.
d. The Kintsugi testnet was our first real public merge testnet with almost all client teams taking part. Marius developed a fuzzer that produced invalid blocks, and one such block triggered multiple bugs in various clients which ended up taking down the entire testnet! It was the first real group debugging session that involved both EL and CL teams. The Kintsugi incident really showed us all the work needed to build debug tooling, effective debugging across teams and how to heal a broken network.
e. I want to give a shout out to Marius van der Wijden and Marek Moraczyński. They were both extremely helpful in debugging every single testnet and pushing every client team to deliver the Merge. I'm a huuuge admirer of Protolambda for doing a lot of the heavy lifting for the Merge! And finally, massive shoutout to the devnet-debug-group, bouncing ideas off you lot was the best part of debugging a testnet!
f. It was outlawed to use the name Bepolia for the Sepolia Beaconchain. So I snuck in the name as an easter egg for the token needed to join the Sepolia Beaconchain Validator set (https://sepolia.etherscan.io/token/0x7f02c3e3c98b133055b8b348b2ac625669ed295d).
g. Elated, Blissful and Relieved
a. Ethereum moving to PoS is huge for the ecosystem, in terms of power, but also in terms of empowering stakers to contribute in a meaningful way.
b. I'm excited for withdrawals, allowing stakers to move their funds is important - otherwise it's very much like a bank where you're locked in for better or for worse!
d. Separating payload from block in storage, and upgrading storage during execution - It's still being developed, and we're still missing a few key bits to make it all work nicely, but it's been a good challenge!
e. Adrian Sutton somehow manages to absorb all the context of these huge changes, and I tip my hat to all that he has accomplished in the merge. It's been a huge effort in getting spec changes in and keeping tests updated, as well as theorising solutions to crazy problems like optimistic head...
a. Getting Ethereum to full PoS was my primary motivation when I started working on Lighthouse. It feels surreal that we are on the brink of the merge in less than a year since we started working on initial testnets. Huge thanks to everyone involved!
b. Excited to work on all the flavours of dank scalability solutions and protocol improvements to keep Ethereum censorship resistant.
c. Proud of my involvement in the initial merge testing effort with the shadow forks where we used to find bugs every other day. Also happy about finding the many bad ways of handling execution layer clients going offline in Lighthouse, which informed our current design to some extent.
d. Spent weeks with @divagant-martian figuring out a bug in our gossipsub implementation - ended up being an interval timer not firing at the expected intervals (https://github.com/libp2p/rust-libp2p/issues/2497). Not merge related, but I would like to think our work in fixing this bug probably freed up others in the team to focus on the merge.
e. Parithosh without a doubt 👼 I don't think our #TestingTheMerge efforts would have gone so smoothly and swiftly if not for his insane coordination and devops work.
a. It's amazing to see the fruition of years of research, implementation and collaboration from multiple individuals all over the world to perform a coordinated large-scale core protocol upgrade. It's a privilege to work together with intelligent people we may have never met, striving to push the boundaries of what is possible in order to realize the dream of a decentralized, turing complete blockchain. It means no matter where we are located, what our nationalities are, or what our socioeconomic backgrounds consist of, we can achieve an aligned vision simply with our minds, the internet and a computer.
b. I'm excited to see what future applications, use cases and real-world solutions await us post-merge. In particular, how we can improve all benefit from light clients. Decentralization has been a key part of the web3 movement and this particular feature enables a whole other realm of imagination. My fear is that blockchain recreates or resembles similar problems of which this technology was supposed to improve.
c. I'm particularly proud of helping Lodestar become production ready and officially become the 5th consensus client live on the beacon chain. The Lodestar client did not make it to originally launch with the Beacon Chain in December 2020, but the continued diligence and grit of the team allowed us to achieve it: (https://twitter.com/dapplion/status/1464033020680224777)
I've also enjoyed contributing to client diversity by pushing more users to try out Lodestar and to improve upon it. Part of this is working with EthStaker, as well as creating guides for running Lodestar (https://hackmd.io/@philknows/rk5cDvKmK).
We also created a "merge-script," now known as "Lodestar Quickstart" which are scripts to easily boot up a Lodestar BN/VC with either one of the four execution clients. We tried to make it as simple as possible for people to try Lodestar and add it to their staking setups (https://github.com/ChainSafe/lodestar-quickstart).
d. The hardest part was getting traction. We understand we are the newest consensus client and was experimental for a long time. Moving to production and getting users to trust us with their real funds has been a difficult challenge. Client stickiness is a real problem. We are still behind on clientdiversity.org but want to prove by running Lodestar in multiple places that we are just as capable as the other clients.
e. Both Danny Ryan and Tim Beiko. They don't have easy jobs and to coordinate this between 9 different client teams deserve a kudos. On top of their other commitments whether personal or professional, they managed to deliver the merge safely. It's not easy to upgrade core functionality of a $100+B network.
g. Let's F*cking Go!
Ethereum Cat Herders
Upgrade Education & Support
a. Having been supporting Ethereum Network Upgrades since 2019, I have always loved community interaction and The Merge upgrade doubled the joy by providing me the opportunity to work with both PoW and Beacon chain client teams and users simultaneously.
The switch from PoW to PoS helps me work with a more deterministic timeline for the preparation of future upgrades and plan the community awareness. I look forward to increasing the reach of Ethereum protocol development with the community.
The benefit I am most excited about with this switch is the engagement of trusted users, which probably will protect the blockchain from malicious attacks by rogue participants.
b. I am looking forward to A. enabling of withdrawal with maximum flexibility. B. Interoperability and/or bridges for interaction with L2 chains. C. Affordable transaction charges, so the blockchain is suitable for mainstream users.
c. I am proud of my work of "Merge" special video series, (a part of PEEPanEIP educational video series) where I got the opportunity to learn and share about upgrade EIPs, Devnet testing team, EL & CL client teams talking about the journey and important notes for Ethereum users getting ready for the Merge (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4cwHXAawZxqu0PKKyMzG_3BJV_xZTi1F).
I also organized the upgrade name selection community meeting for both CL and EL clients' name - Bellatrix & Paris respectively (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4cwHXAawZxqoLxXqZqT4hcYhoHoP6w12).
The collection of KnowYourClient is highly appreciated by the community and client developers to help them reach their users and take their questions (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4cwHXAawZxoruie1hmYWJfiakpYivXft).
e. I would like to give a shout out to all client devs to be approachable, always available to share the progress and take any community question to answer. Special thanks to Mikhail Kalinin for making the first (and multiple) appearance to explain the Merge EIPs and the upgrade transition process. Sajida Zouarhi from Besu client team, is the first "Woman dev" who agreed to be the guest to kick off the KnowYourClient series. And not to mention, Parithosh Jayanthi, making a debut with talks on the Merge upgrade testnets and announcing the public launch of the Kiln testnet on the PEEPanEIP show. My sincere thanks to all hardworking client developers to take out time to join on the PEEPanEIP show to share information with the Ethereum community.
f. I had a good time talking to client developers about challenges of client readiness for the upgrade. That is recorded and available in the public domain. What is not shared publicly and is recorded in my memory is what I discussed off the camera. I could clearly see the commitment towards the growth of the Ethereum ecosystem with the determination of not leaving anyone behind. Some of the guests were waking up early in the morning to record the talk so they can dedicate the daytime to development team and some of them planned the recording in the middle of their night so they be free with development work and make sure their kids go to bed. Some were not public speakers, yet they showed up to share. We took different cuts, but ensured that their users do not have any unanswered questions. Kudos to the development team, implementers team, the communication team and the Ethereum community.
Welcome to "The Merge" !
g. Thank God, It's Merged!
As a friend put it: "I am an ecosystem person at prysm"
a. The only reason I got into Ethereum was because I found the whole concept of switching consensus algorithms something fascinating. I bought 32ETH just so that I can stake them. That was my first transaction ever in any blockchain. Then it hit me that if this wasn't successful I'd lose my savings. Hence I got involved deeper in the staking community, and then my client's Discord, and then ETH R&D discord... that's a one-way trip. I now spend my mornings thinking about fork-choice before having coffee.
b. In the immediate term I think about withdrawals: as I said above it was what got me into this. In the long term I would want to see sharding and state expiry as I consider both to be strictly necessary for mass adoption. More generally, if I have to pick two concepts that I would want to have/lose in the next 5 years, I would say that we need a) The community to better informed and developers to be better educated so that hacks/scams are the exception and not the norm and b) The typical usage of the network be for things others than speculating on some elf increasing value by 20. We need honest practical usecases that have no analog outside and require the usage of a decentralized blockchain.
c. The most interesting work I have for the merge never made it to production. Or rather made it and we removed it. I had devised a clever way of tracking optimistic status of every single block and keep the information on disk across boots with minimal footprint. It traded memory with engineering complication and it made so that no one in the team including myself could know what the hell some function was doing. We decided to remove all this and went with a not-so-performant option which a first grader can read.
Other things I did for the merge include a completely different implementation for forkchoice, which makes Prysm the only client to contribute to client diversity by allowing users to choose between two independent and different sets of forkchoice code.
d. Dealing with personal pressure. I was shocked in Amsterdam to learn about certain attacks on consensus that were simple and cheap to execute and that still today cause me nightmares. It hit me that code we are writing now may cause a huge network disruption and a consensus failure could very much affect real lives. What started as a game and some simple puzzle-solving exercises became all-of-the-sudden a source of stress when thinking that I may be responsible for some hidden subtlety, which in a year might allow a hacker to exploit our network.
e. I am impressed by several people for different reasons. If I'm forced to choose one person it would be Danny Ryan. I had a mental model of Danny as an organizer of sorts that only glimpsed and had only a cursory understanding of every area (something that is useful when organizing large projects). I have become convinced that he not only holds a technical and deep understanding of all the merge-related issues, but that also he's incredibly sharp and fast in reasoning - in and out of puzzles.
f. Instead of telling you one in which I was involved, I'll tell you about a funny story that you will need to gather the remaining information. One of our team members (Kasey) was in a 1-1 with one of Prysmatic's founders (Raúl). And then he saw Raúl's screen drop Blair-Witch project style with a scream in the background. It turned out that Raúl was sitting on a huge ant colony!
g. Biting my nails
a. Ethereum has been using the energy equivalent of a medium-sized country. After the Merge to PoS, the energy consumption will be the equivalent of a small village. This is huge! And I'm so proud that I've been able to help and be part of this transition.
b. We keep on chugging. Next, we'll probably be working on testing withdrawals and then moving on to sharding and verkle trees. There's a lot to do and to improve, and some of these improvements can happen in parallel. In the long term, I'm curious to see how the discussions regarding the ever-growing state size will evolve. That would be "The Purge" phase, as mentioned in Vitalik's upcoming Ethereum development stages.
c. My team was crucial for setting up and coordinating many public and private testnets. I think I've lost count of how many testnets we created. We had to set up many different multi-client testnets from scratch. It started with the Devnets (0-5), then Kintsugi, which was then followed by the Kiln testnet. We did provide a lot of tooling like block explorers, RPC endpoints, and monitoring endpoints so that the users and developers could have a better view of the networks. Then there were also the existing networks like Sepolia, Goerli, and, of course, Mainnet. On Goerli and Mainnet, we ran many shadow forks to make sure that the transition would be smooth.
To all the Kubernetes folks: there's also a bunch of helm charts you can use to deploy many different Ethereum clients and tools across your infra. For more Infos, go check out (https://github.com/skylenet/ethereum-helm-charts).
d. Maybe not the most difficult, but at one point in time, it was pretty hard to understand and be able to configure all the different Ethereum clients. Each one of these clients is built in a different programming language and uses its specific way of configuration. Breaking changes were happening on every version, and we spent quite some time debugging clients between releases. I've lost count on how many times things started failing due to some CLI flag that was suddenly different. One annoying bug was a bug where the order of CLI flags mattered. Another bug was a hidden limit on one of the cloud providers that we used for testing. We did use some automation to open up ports for P2P purposes, and suddenly we had a testnet where only a random set of the nodes could be accessible from the Internet. After hours of debugging at the wrong places, we finally realized that there was a limit on the number of ports we could open at the cloud provider's firewall. We didn't see any error logs on the port mapping creation, so it wasn't easy to spot the problem. At last, a non-technical challenge appeared in March 2022: Our first son joined the family and added some more "complexity" and a lot of love to the already busy times.
e. A big shoutout goes to Parithosh, with whom I had the pleasure to work during this time. I think the Merge wouldn't happen in 2022 if it weren't for him. He did many things simultaneously, from coordinating with different client teams to setting up whole testnets. He's one of the most humble people I know. Thank you for everything, and let's keep on rockin! Pari and I also grew our small team a bit, and we got some new joiners from whom you'll surely hear about in the future: Sam, Barnabas, and Andrew. Thanks for joining us and for already delivering some fantastic things during the short time you've been with us. A final shoutout also goes to all the client dev teams that were always so open to helping us and debugging problems together.
f. To all those people that were constantly running bots to drain the Kiln and Kintsugi faucets: I love you too.
g. Happy, proud, and excited.
a. We started working on Prysm, one of the Ethereum consensus clients, because we truly felt a group of motivated outsiders to Ethereum could come in and implement the future of the protocol. Ethereum felt like the right project to build upon, given the values its community has espoused for years, and every day, we know we have made the right choice. Fast forward a few years later, it's hard to believe we are at the precipice of moving away from proof-of-work and enabling some fantastic, future innovations by switching to a novel consensus mechanism. It has been a dream come true to work on something so impactful with mission-driven people I learn so much from every day. I know the merge will be a historical event many will remember fondly.
b. I look forward to the innovation happening on Layer 2s that truly use Ethereum's security guarantees to make no compromises for their users. It is mind-blowing such technology is even possible, and I see both fierce competition and great ideas emerging from that realm. We will see many hypotheses play out over the coming years and I cannot wait to see what emerges as a dominant technology.
c. I am proud of some work I made to reduce the size of the database growth in the Prysm consensus client post-merge. Many users struggle with needing a lot more data now that they need to run an execution cilent, and were upset that we needed to store execution payloads in both EL and CL. I prepared and shipped a design that removes the need to do this and will hopefully improve Prysm users' experience (https://www.notion.so/prysmaticlabs/Storing-Only-BlindedBeaconBlocks-in-Prysm-Post-Merge-1aed63ab2aa94d00b96c05fbc7d69b5b).
d. The complexity of forkchoice and its many difficulties felt like enormous walls to overcome over the past year. Today, we have so many smart people looking at these problems and thinking hard about the right way to solve them over the long-run.
e. I admire every person in my team so much. Everyone is so motivated to see Prysm evolve, and we have so much camaraderie, knowledge sharing, and great discussions happen on a day-to-day that no single workday is the same. I learn so much from my teammates' experiences and their deep knowledge of programming and how to carry a project with professionalism and candor.
f. Banteg's hentai story of finding a bug with the merge was hilarious!
g. big freakin deal
Sr Software Engineer
a. I hope for much lower gas prices and high network scalability.
b. I'd like L1 to get more features from L2, so there are fewer L2, bridges, etc.
g. Super excited
a. There's something inherently beautiful about seeing such a large group of people from all corners of the globe coming together to work on something like The Merge. It's completely refreshed my views on how well humans can collaborate despite timezones, language barriers, etc. It's been an absolute privilege to be able to contribute towards The Merge effort over the last 6 months - its a period of my life that I'll look back on very fondly.
b. Verkle Trees & EIP4844 (Proto-Danksharding) are the upgrades I'm most looking forward to over the next few years. I think they both take giants steps in the direction that everyone wants Ethereum to take.
c. I created Ethereum-Metrics-Exporter, a Prometheus metrics exporter, to provide a standard set of metrics that were independent of the consensus client being run. We deployed an instance alongside every EF DevOps execution/consensus pair for all the testnets & shadowforks. The dashboards using these metrics were generally the first port of call for determining how a merge went or debugging any issues, and were even used in the Ropsten/Sepolia/Goerli Youtube streams! (https://github.com/samcm/ethereum-metrics-exporter)
e. Parithosh Jayanthi (EF DevOps) - his ability to keep the show on the road throughout The Merge is second to none. Setting up infrastructure, faciliating shadow forks, coordinating amongst our team, debugging merge issues, liaising with client teams, etc. Pari has been involved in nearly every facet of this journey, all whilst doing so in such a cool, calm & collected manner. Thank you Pari!
Ethereum Core Developer
a. Unfortunately for me, I joined Nethermind a little bit late. As a result, my contributions were not as significant as i would like them to be. But i admire the work done by every member of the team and their utter dedication to deliver the best they can.
b. Proto-Danksharding, account abstraction and a way for a rollup to query the state of another rollup.
e. Marek, He has spear headed Nethermind's merge work and has been very dedicated to come up with the best solutions possible to every challenge we face
a. I joined ConsenSys earlier this year. It was very exciting time to become part of the Ethereum protocol development so close to the merge. I am very impressed by how much of a team effort moving to PoS is. There is a lot of communication between the client teams and everybody has a chance to contribute. During my time in ConsenSys so far, I worked primarily on the mev-boost implementation in Teku. This gave me a chance to get a deep understanding of MEV and also the chance to contribute to the ethereum specs.
b. I am very excited about EIP-4844 and the future of sharding, which will allow users to run lightweight clients on resource restricted devices. I am also interested in PBS becoming part of the protocol and how it will improve the current mev-boost implementation.
c. As part of the mev-boost implementation in Teku, I decided to create a draft documentation explaining the usage. It ended up being referenced across different channels. I didn't expect it to be that useful and get so much traction. :) (https://hackmd.io/BAjCqef3SFCnPcEEEjhasQ).
e. I want to give shoutout to the whole Teku team. They have been great to me and I have learned so much during my first months in the Ethereum development ecosystem. There is so much to learn and I feel safe reaching out to a team member with questions I have.
g. What a Wonderful World
a. Once in a blue moon, the time comes when we have to take drastic and difficult decision sacrificing the present for a brighter dawn to improve and grow. These decisions make us look back in the past, thanking our old self that made took the initiative. The same has arrived for Ethereum to create a sustainable, equitable and democratic financial system, and I for one have been fortunate to contribute to this achievement.
b. L2 and Darksharding
c. Merge Testnet setups, Bug discovery via automation and improving Infra to make developers life easier
e. Preston Van Loon and rest of the Prysmatic team for being awesome team-mates to work with. I was new to blockchain and still consider myself a novice, but entire team has been supportive and didn't let that become a major issue for me working there. A great work environment and culture, with values correlating with Ethereum. It has been a delightful journey!
g. Onwards we merge
a. Merge was the biggest and most ambitious project I've ever participated in. Swapping consensus mid-flight on a $200B network is no easy feat. I'm pleased we came to the most viable design with a tradeoff and managed to ship it in a reasonable time frame. The merge effort involved many, many teams (even more than shipping the beacon chain!) I'm glad to have met so many wonderful folks and learned much from them. Ethereum moving from PoW to PoS meant the world to me. I am humbled to be part of it. The new Ethereum will use at least ~99% less energy post-merge, which is closer to solving a significant criticism, crypto’s environmental impact. We may see more green-conscious users on board and interact with the ecosystem. Ethereum’s power-hungry days will soon be numbered, and I hope that’s true for the rest of the industry too.
b. In the next 1-2 years, I'm most excited to see progress and work on scalability! That's what attracted me to this place first! We will ship proto-danksharding (eip4844) next year and hopefully danksharding in 2-3 years. In the long term, I'd love to see Ethereum protocol ossify, and we continue rapid innovation on L2s
c. As someone that has been involved with the merge in the very beginning, I don't think I can pinpoint a single piece of work that I'm proud of. If I have to say, I'd probably be shipping builder / mev-boost support, given the short amount of time. But really, all the credit goes to my team and everyone else that's been working tirelessly over the last year. We wouldn't have been where we are without them
d. So many! How about this fun one we encountered last week (post v3 release), as it turned out, Prsym doesn't gossip attestations nor account attestations in fork choice under optimistic mode ;) (https://github.com/prysmaticlabs/prysm/pull/11319).
e. Too many! But if I have one person in mind, then that's Potuz. We said he is "part-time" but he really is "multiple-full-time". He has brought in such great work ethics, knowledge, and attitude to the team. Also the fun spicy debates too, I can't imagine what my work would have been like without him.
EF Protocol Support
a. There is this weird, almost contradictory feeling where every week, it seems like we’re always moving forward slower than expected. But when you look back, it’s hard to believe we got so much done in so little time. This took longer than anyone ever expected, but looking at the final output, I don’t think we could have gotten there quicker. While getting the design and specs for the Beacon Chain and The Merge required many strokes of genius, shipping the actual software felt more like a marathon of consistently high quality contributions. So many people have raised the bar on one thing or another so many times. It’s been inspiring to get to see it all happen from so close!
b. In the next two years: the executable EL specs going live and the EL/CL governance processes harmonizing, EOF allowing us to expand the EVM’s functionalities, and fee reductions brought by data blobs. Longer term, I’m excited about the work on stateless & regenesis, as they are at the core of scaling the EL while maintaining a large set of nodes on the network. My moonshot is still L1 ETH transfer privacy by default, but alas it might not be possible…!
c. My posts on the history & architecture of The Merge, as well as the one about the impact on applications: (https://tim.mirror.xyz/CHQtTJb1NDxCK41JpULL-zAJe7YOtw-m4UDw6KDju6c) ~ (https://tim.mirror.xyz/sR23jU02we6zXRgsF_oTUkttL83S3vyn05vJWnnp-Lc) ~ (https://blog.ethereum.org/2021/11/29/how-the-merge-impacts-app-layer/)
d. Getting the calculations for the difficulty bomb pushback wrong 😅
e. Danny Ryan - without him, all of this might still only exist as an ethresear.ch post! He can will proof of stake into existence, engage on every aspect, from low level technical details to long term strategic design implications, and shows up every day with the energy to keep momentum high.
g. Ready for Amphora Pt. II
a. For me the Merge was the time when I witnessed the Nethermind team maturing, collaborating more with other client teams, and taking more responsibilities. I have been pleased to see more Nethermind devs stepping up and participating in All Core Devs calls. The excitement (and the exhaustion) caused by the Merge could be felt as it touched every aspect of our work. The Merge was redefining the present and the future of DeFi, staking, infrastructure, protocol research, MEV, client diversity and many other areas. The Merge is the beginning of the next chapter of the Ethereum journey.
b. In the next 1-2 years I am looking forward to execution client diversity, paths towards statelessness, and the emergence of block builder markets. I am excited about the role of the validator reward as a reference rate and DeFi products emerging around it. I am thrilled about StarkNet L2 bringing a next-gen powerful engine to be used by Ethereum. In the next 4 years, I am looking forward to the emergence of DeSoc and blockchain as the AI's source of truth. Hope to see more of the cross-border issues to be solved by Ethereum.
e. Shoutout to the entire Nethermind Core team that worked tirelessly to deliver on time and collaborated with all other clients. Also thanks for the great memories to all the great people that participated in the Amphora event.
f. We had to force Marek to take holiday, otherwise he would just never stop working on the Merge (and become the Merge ghost).
EF Protocol Support
a. I worked in a coordinator role between core teams, creating spaces, interactions, and mechanisms to facilitate collaboration. While perhaps modest relative to the work of others, I'm proud of my contributions.
Moving beyond PoW is a incredible milestone for the entire crypto space, not just Ethereum. Personally, the successful coordination of the effort is as impressive as solving the tough problems surfaced in research and engineering. Coordinating across a global contributor set and the broader Ethereum community comes with its own unique challenges. The Merge demonstrates that Big Problems can still be addressed despite Moloch's (https://slatestarcodex.com/2014/07/30/meditations-on-moloch/) best intentions.
b. There's an incredible buffet of technical features for Ethereum to pursue in both the near and medium term. I'm excited to improve the accessibility of participating in consensus or running nodes generally, sustainability of the chain history management, censorship resistance, and scalability.
Beyond these, I'm most interested in how to hone our coordination capabilities. How can we improve collective decision-making to shape the path ahead? How can we improve our async communications? How can we proactively make our toolset more robust in the case of censorship? How can we better engage new voices in building the world computer? What do we weight when decide between maintaining existing features, reducing technical debt, and adding crucial new capabilities?
I hope Ethereum grows its capability for solidarity in times of challenges, mutual support when incumbent institutions encroach. I hope we (core contributors and the broader community) become more aware of the inherent political nature of this infrastructure, and improve our ability to communicate these possibilities outside of our niche.
c. I was involved in planning the Amphora retreat in Oct 2021, which had a significant impact on progress towards actually being able to stand up devnets like Kiln and Kintsugi.
I was also involved in framing and bootstrapping the Protocol Guild Pilot (https://protocol-guild.readthedocs.io/en/latest/), which may not have been directly related to the Merge, but will hopefully be a useful mechanism towards long-term protocol maintenance.
d. Too many chat apps 😅
e. Tim Beiko is a force of nature: competent, kind, organized, and able to speak in-depth about the protocol. Ethereum is very fortunate to have him doing this work!
g. Unbothered. Moisturized. Happy. In My Lane. Focused. Flourishing.
a. Some of my friends criticized blockchain (in general) because it consumes a lot of energy and not good for the environment. Now Ethereum is going to move to PoS, it's environment friendly, we'll see more and more users/applications to use Ethereum in everyday life. I'm so happy to have some contribution for the success of the Merge.
b. I'd like to see Ethereum to control the gas fee better and no network congestion, I think that's what users complained for years and we should work on it.
a. I've been convinced that proof of stake is the future of blockchain consensus since even before the proof of work version of Ethereum was released. We always understood that the Ethereum we launched in 2015 was a "version 1", and there would be a much better and well designed version 2 coming in the future. Proof of stake and scalability were the two centerpieces of this vision.
To me, the Merge is the moment when we finally fulfill the first half of that promise, and a key stepping stone to fulfilling the second half. In addition to upgrading the technology, the Merge is also living proof that Ethereum has a community that is up to the task of continuing to improve Ethereum, making it more sustainable, more accessible, more secure, and generally everything that we dreamed the platform to be. It's the result of tireless work by dozens of Ethereum researchers, even more client developers, and thousands of community members helping to make the transition happen. It has been an incredibly difficult challenge, but I am very happy with the result.
b. I'm excited to see Ethereum address and solve its scaling challenges, wrap up long-standing goals like statelessness and account abstraction, and start a transition into being a strong, stable and hopefully simplified protocol that is able to stand the test of time. The rapid changes that we have made over the last few years, and are planning for the next two, are all necessary catch-up work that we have to do to create the Ethereum that we want to see, but the future after that point will demand a network that is more stable and dependable, and can be a base protocol for all kinds of amazing and highly scalable applications.
Seeing the applications that will emerge in response to much cheaper transactions and new technology - privacy-preserving systems, DAO governance tools, cryptocurrency commerce happening on a larger scale, non-financial applications, applications around attestations and identity, and more - is also something that I am very much looking forward to.
d. The most difficult challenge for me personally was actually something pretty basic and early in the process: understanding how traditional BFT algorithms worked well enough to be able to come up with something like Casper FFG, and trusting that things like it can work and make sense as the basis for a proof of stake protocol.
e. Danny has been a truly excellent coordinator between the research and development teams; we would not be where we are without him. Justin has done an excellent job in leading the push for more effective use of advanced cryptography. Dankrad, Francesco and others have been excellent protocol designers. And Hsiao-wei's merge panda meme is excellent.
g. Excited, eagerly anticipating
a. Contributed to BLS signature standard
b. more applications from interesting cryptographic tools, such as ZKP and vector commitments; adoption of quantum-safe cryptography
c. BLS signature standard (https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/draft-irtf-cfrg-bls-signature/) get adopted by the beacon chain.
You’ve made it to the end! Remember to join us for the New Home of the Heart Merge NFT exhibition which starts Monday Sept 12.
Ever onwards, building towards better worlds on Ethereum.