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Ethereum Consensus Layer Call #95 Writeup

Service provider support of the merge

On Thursday, September 8, Ethereum core developers concluded their 95th fortnightly Consensus Layer (CL) call. Chaired by Ethereum Foundation researcher Danny Ryan, the CL calls are one of two recurring meeting series where Ethereum developers discuss and coordinate upgrades to the protocol of Ethereum. Over the last several months, these bi-weekly calls and the All Core Developer (ACD) calls, which occur every other Thursday, have focused primarily on preparations for Ethereum’s Merge upgrade. For a compendium of Galaxy Research’s coverage on the Merge, click here.

With the Merge expected to activate on Ethereum sometime next week, developers did not have many discussion items to address about the upcoming upgrade. The preparations for the Merge now are primarily in the hands of Ethereum node operators rather than the core developers. Only one Ethereum CL client team is expected to release another version of Merge-ready code this week. The Nimbus team explained on today’s call that they are preparing a high importance release later today or early tomorrow that fixes issues around node performance and connectivity with EL nodes. Outside of Nimbus, other Ethereum client teams did not have updates to share about their releases, many of which have already been published and shared through the Ethereum Foundation blog. For the full list of Merge-ready client software, click here.

Mikhail Kalinin from the Teku (CL) client team gave an update on the test vector suite being created for optimistic sync functionality. For background on this discussion, refer to last week’s Ethereum developer call notes. Since last Thursday, Ethereum client teams have provided initial feedback on the tests. Kalinin said that he expects the test vector suite to be finalized and ready for implementation by next week. The new tests will be optional for CL client teams to implement and support but they are encouraged as they can help identify potential bugs and issues with the optimistic sync functionality in CL clients. Developers also discussed minor ways to improve the user experience when connecting their execution layer (EL) client to their consensus layer (CL) through the Engine API. They also discussed ongoing development of the checkpoint sync API and the exact requirements for performing a checkpoint sync of the Beacon Chain. For more details about these two topics, refer to the livestream of the call here.

Other miscellaneous updates

  • Ethereum developers will activate one last shadow fork to test the Merge and all final client releases tomorrow on September 9th.

  • Given the success of the Bellatrix upgrade, which occurred on Tuesday morning, Ethereum developers will deprecate the Kiln test network this week. Kiln was launched back in December 2021 as one of the last dedicated Merge testnets before pre-existing Ethereum testnets such as Ropsten were upgraded.

  • The last Merge community call will take place tomorrow at 10am (ET). The call will be hosted over Zoom by the Ethereum Foundation and go over what Ethereum stakeholders, especially node operators and end users, can expect from next week’s Merge activation.

  • Chair of the ACD calls Tim Beiko raised a proposal to temporarily suspend Ethereum developer calls for 3 to 4 weeks after the Merge has happened and around the time of Ethereum’s annual developer conference, Devcon. In place of regular calls, Ethereum core developers would be encouraged to rest and read up on the Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) slated for Shanghai, which is the upgrade that will enable staked ETH withdrawals, among other notable code changes, after the Merge. Developer Micah Zoltu pushed back on the idea, saying that he liked the consistency of weekly calls. Chair of the CL calls Danny Ryan said that the developers he had spoken to were in favor of the idea. Beiko said at the minimum, the ACD call scheduled during Devcon on October 13 would be cancelled. Developers will continue to discuss what calls outside of that week will also be taken off the calendar to allow for more time to review Shanghai EIPs.