Bellatrix" Upgrade to Bring Ethereum Closer to "Proof-of-Stake" Consensus

The last major upgrade before the Ethereum Merge, the Bellatrix upgrade, will transition the network's consensus mechanism to proof-of-stake.

The Bellatrix upgrade was successfully completed on Sept. 6, however concerns were raised over an almost one in ten missed block rate across the last 600 slots. This upgrade is preparing Ethereum for the Merge, and while the missed block rate is cause for concern, it is hoped that the overall benefits of the Merge will outweigh any issues that may arise.

The Ethereum Foundation has announced an upcoming update to the Ethereum consensus layer, which is set to improve performance and security on the network. The update, called the "Bellatrix upgrade", is set to go live next week, and will update clients at epoch 144896 on the Beacon Chain.

The 5% drop in validators during the hard fork led to a 9% missed block rate, according to Gnosis co-founder Martin Köppelmann. Some observers have questioned the network's readiness for the big switch to proof of stake.

According to Köppelmann, the 9% figure is 1700% higher than the historical missed block rate of 0.5%. This suggests that the issue may be related to the 25.6% of clients that Ethernodes cites as "not ready" for The Merge.

Percentage of Ethereum Clients that are Merge ready. Source: Ethernodes.
According to Ethernodes, the percentage of Ethereum clients that are merge ready is currently at 97.7%. This means that a large majority of the Ethereum network is prepared for any potential changes or upgrades that may be implemented in the future.

I hope that the "big spike" in missed blocks will get debugged before the Merge proper. I don't want to see any unexpected issues at this late stage.

I think that Anthony Sassano is right - having only 5% of validators falling off the network is actually an amazing result. I'm confident that there's not actually much that can go catastrophically wrong with the Merge.

“I would say that the ‘worst case scenario’ would be if the chain just halts because the switchover from PoW to PoS didn’t work at all - this would then require some sort of coordinated human intervention to fix."

If we see validators dropping off the network due to configuration issues, missed blocks/slots or some clients having major bugs, these things wouldn't be cause for major concern as they are relatively easy to recover from,” he added.

The Bellatrix upgrade is an important step towards the Ethereum Merge, and will enable clients to execute transactions on the Beacon Chain. This will be a major boost to the Ethereum network, and will help it to become more scalable and efficient.

It's hard to predict the future, but the Ethereum Merge could mean big things for the network. With a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism, the network could become more efficient and secure, which would be a major boon for everyone involved.