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Roundup: Ethereum’s Upcoming Merge, Terra and Mt Gox Comparisons by Avalanche Founder, Lens Protocol Launch on Polygon

Here are recent interesting headings you might have missed:

The ‘Merge’ could happen this August, core Ethereum developer suggests

Ethereum’s migration to the Beacon Chain has been touted as the most significant milestone for the network since the blockchain went live in 2015. The migration – 0r rather – the Merge would see the proof of work (PoW) Ethereum chain integrated with the proof of stake (PoS) Beacon Chain. The biggest change to come? Reduced energy use by figures as promising as 99%.

In the latest update, an Ethereum developer last week revealed that the merge could happen this August, following a series of pushbacks for a while now, owing to developmental delays. Core developer Preston Van Loon told a Permissionless panel on Thursday that should every detail go according to plan, the final steps could be completed within three months.

While a date set for this summer is enticing for Ethereum enthusiasts, depositors of the Beacon Chain (live since December 1, 2020) especially, history speaks against getting one’s hopes too high.

The difficulty bomb

The mention of August as an achievable timeline to transition is tied to the network’s difficulty bomb, which refers to an exponential increase in the difficulty level of the mining algorithm. The bomb is meant to de-incentivize mining activities and effectively incentivize a move toward a more efficient PoS chain.

Ideally, the merge should arrive before the bomb, without which the Ethereum network could become unusable as we know it as the bomb’s designed to double difficulty every fortnight. Notably, the bomb was last delayed in December 2021.

With the Merge’s most recent delay and a yet un-delayed difficulty bomb, its expected block times could read up to 15 to 20 seconds by August, making the network frustratingly slow. Given that a lot comes with diffusing the difficulty bomb any further, Ethereum Foundation’s Justin Drake insisted there’s a “strong desire” to make the move before August.

Steps towards the Merge

Currently, Ethereum is testing the Merge with several test nests already running, and the anticipation towards the Merge is growing. Ropsten, a testnet that mirrors Ethereum’s network structure, is set to merge with the Beacon Chain starting May 30, with the Merge transition set for June 8, after which testing shall begin.

The Ropsten testnet will merge with a proof of work consensus layer testnet to simulate the environment expected when the actual merge ships.

The Ethereum Foundation also said on May 16 that it had integrated the bounty programs of the PoS chain and the PoW mainnet.

To learn more about Ethereum, visit our Investing in Ethereum guide.

Aave’s decentralized social media Lens Protocol launches on Polygon

Aave Protocol launched last February with the promise to provide a decentralized competitor of a platform to traditional social media, including Twitter and Facebook.

As per a shared release, Lens Protocol’s over 50 applications are available on the Polygon network to give users an experience of the better social media they have long desired. Lens’ dApps now available on Polygon include GoldenCircle, PeerStream, Swapify, and SpamDAO, to mention but a few.

Decentralization and censorship resistance

The difference between the social media option Aave’s offering and traditional alternatives currently available, Lens Protocol focuses on decentralized ownership, meaning users own their content and social media profiles.

The functionality is that it leverages non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and crypto addresses (both of which are characteristic of blockchain technology) to monetize content and authenticate users. By following this model, the centralization that’s synonymous with Web2 social media is remedied as personal data and published content is firmly in the hands of social media users.

Aave CEO Stani Kulechov is a recent victim of the one-sidedness of native social media platforms, having seen his account suspended for a joke on Twitter last month amidst the company’s takeover talk. Such are the reasons that inspired the Aave founder to work with Lens Protocol towards a decentralized social media era. The intention is to unsettle the status quo of social media towards achieving change towards censorship resistance.

Layer twos against scalability concerns

Aave’s choice to build on Polygon over Ethereum was based on the scalability of the former, as social media applications are associated with massive volumes of data and requirements of high throughput. However, even Polygon has suffered congestion in the past, meaning it’s likely unable to contend with the demands required of social media with increased use.

In the long run, Kulechov told The Block, many networks will scale into L2s to ensure that scalability and throughput are achieved while retaining the security features of the underlying layer. This is the direction Lens Protocol intends to take once it gains “sufficient protocol marketfit.”

To learn more about Aave or Polygon, visit our Investing in Aave or Investing in Polygon guide.

Terra’s implosion was crypto’s Mt. Gox, opines Avalanche founder

The Avalanche blockchain, in the latter days of Terra’s optimistic reign, joined the bandwagon in a bid to contend with a surging LUNA that was choking out the competition. Avalanche formed a partnership with Terra that was brought to life with Terraform Labs and the Luna Foundation Guard buying a combined $200 million worth of AVAX.

However, as Avalanche founder Emin Gün Sirer explains it, the relationship eventually turned sour and “obviously problematic.” In a recent interview with Forbes, Sirer has compared the gravity of Terra’s disruption with Mt. Gox. Mt Gox was a Tokyo-based cryptocurrency exchange that went bankrupt in early 2014 following a Bitcoin price drop after suffering a hack.

This negates Do Kwon’s mention of Terra’s crisis as its DAO hack moment, reminiscing an attack that nearly downed Ethereum in 2016. The incident forced the network to fork into two, but Sirer believes Terra’s is a much bigger implosion.

Following the unfortunate turn of events involving Terra, the Avalanche Foundation suffered some losses, but Sirer says that harm isn’t as impactful. However, he fears that such events will only lead to increased regulatory scrutiny.

Notably, Sirer has also recently spoken against misinformation that ensued due to Avalanche’s relationship with Terra. The Ava Labs CEO pointed to clarification, indicating that the LFG’s AVAX is immobilized as it’s serving a one-year lockup period. He also insisted that as AVAX is capped at a 720 million supply, a death spiral similar to LUNA/UST is unlikely for the Avalanche-native token.

To learn more about Avalanche, visit our Investing in Avalanche guide.

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