Ethereum developers have long been planning to transition the blockchain to a more energy-efficient, secure, and scalable network.
ConsenSys researcher Mikhail Kalinin has created a pull request for EIP-3675 , which would upgrade the blockchain's consensus mechanism to proof of stake , a system that allows people to validate transactions and create new blocks based on how much ETH they contribute. The current proof-of-work system instead relies on "miners," who compete to be the first to validate transactions.
The proposal, which sets the stage for "the merge" to Ethereum 2.0 , will be discussed at Friday's core developers meeting .
But, contrary to some speculation, that doesn't mean ETH2 is necessarily happening this year. Tim Beiko, an Ethereum Foundation dev who coordinates upgrades, told Decrypt that a 2021 merge is unlikely in his opinion. "Everything would have to go perfectly," he said.
The intent of Ethereum 2.0 is to allow more—and speedier—transactions on the network. The blockchain has often struggled with congestion, as it's not able to process any more than about 15 transactions per second. With decentralized finance (DeFi) applications—which replace financial intermediaries with blockchain-based code—tapping into Ethereum's network, every buy and sell order adds strain. As a result, transaction fees exploded this year, sometimes reaching triple-digit dollar amounts for single-digit transactions.