Ethereum Merge FAQ and Common Misconceptions

Ethereum’s much-anticipated transition to the proof of stake (PoS) consensus, known as the Merge, is almost upon us. It’s a momentous event with broad-ranging implications for the greater Ethereum ecosystem. So we wanted to provide a definitive list of frequently asked questions (and answers) as well as address some of the common misconceptions, both of general and technical nature.

General FAQ
Q: What is the Ethereum Merge?

 A: The Merge is a transition in how Ethereum’s decentralized network achieves consensus, from proof of work to proof of stake.

The transition to proof of stake will make Ethereum more energy-efficient, more secure, and lays the groundwork for future upgrades, like sharding.

Q: Does the Merge affect Polygon?
  • A: The effect of the Merge on:
    • Using Polygon PoS: The Merge will have no effect on Polygon smart contracts already deployed on Ethereum.
    • Polygon Bridge: There are no modifications to the Polygon Bridge after the Merge. But deposit and withdrawal times will be longer as a consequence of Ethereum’s extended time to network finality.
    • Environmental impact: Polygon’s network emissions will reduce drastically because Ethereum’s energy efficiency will improve by 99%. Polygon’s relationship with Ethereum accounts for more than 95% of our own emissions.
    • Cost: The Merge will not increase network capacity. It is only a change in consensus. So it will not result in lower gas.
    • Speed: Proof of stake will not increase transaction speeds.
    • Security: The Merge will improve Ethereum’s security against coordinated attacks.

Read more about it here: What Does Ethereum’s Transition to Proof of Stake Mean for Polygon?

Q: What is the impact on Ethereum’s energy consumption?

A: After the Merge, Ethereum’s energy consumption will shrink from 112 TWh/yr to 0.01 TWh/yr, reducing total energy consumption by ~99.95%.

Q: What is the impact on Polygon’s roadmap?

A: Polygon’s roadmap is unaffected by the Merge.

Q: What will future upgrades, like sharding, mean for Polygon?

A: Even when Ethereum begins to scale during “the surge” (Ethereum’s next phase) with upgrades like sharding, that will be good for Polygon, too—it will amplify the network’s ability to scale. Every improvement made to Ethereum, as a settlement layer, magnifies the power of Polygon.

Q: Does the Merge affect MATIC staking?

A: No. Staked MATIC is not affected by the Merge.

General Misconceptions
“The Merge will make Ethereum fast and cheap, so Polygon scaling solutions will become redundant.”

False. The Merge is a change in consensus mechanism, not an expansion of network capacity. The Merge doesn’t fix expensive gas fees or boost Ethereum’s speed, so Polygon will continue to be essential for fast and cheap transactions.

“Investors will be able to withdraw staked ETH after the merge.”

Withdrawal of staked ETH will be available during the Shanghai Upgrade, the next major upgrade after the merge.

“The merge sets the stage for sharding, which will make Polygon unnecessary in the future.”

False. While the merge does pave the way for sharding, this future upgrade will not be enough to scale Ethereum. In fact, Polygon will benefit from it, and it will boost the performance of our scaling solutions.

  • To quote from ethereum.org: “The Ethereum ecosystem is firmly aligned that layer 2 scaling is the only way to solve the scalability trilemma while remaining decentralized and secure”.
“I need to convert my ETH or MATIC to a new token or move my funds to another network after the merge.”

No, you don’t need to do anything to prepare for the merge as an ETH or MATIC token holder.

“I’ll get an Eth2 token airdrop after the merge.”

No. You will not get an airdrop from the Ethereum Foundation. Beware of scammers tricking you into a malicious airdrop.

"The Merge will result in downtime for Ethereum chain."

False. The merge is designed to transition to proof of stake with zero downtime.

Technical FAQ

Polygon

Q: What do Polygon validators need to do to prepare for the Merge?

A: Polygon validators do not need to do anything specific to prepare for the Merge.

Q: Will Polygon bridge be affected due to the Merge?

A: Out of an abundance of caution, during the merge, we WILL be pausing the following: the Polygon Wallet Suite, the Safe Bridge, and the Staking Platform. But we are NOT disabling smart contracts associated with those services. After the merge, all of the above will resume functioning normally. Learn more here.

Q: Will dApps deployed on Polygon be affected during or after the Merge?

A: dApps running on Polygon will not be impacted.

Q: What do Polygon delegators and token holders need to do to prepare for the Merge?

A: Polygon delegators and token holders do not need to do anything to prepare for the Merge.

Q: Will Infrastructure providers to the Polygon chain be impacted due to the Merge?

A: Except for a longer withdrawal and deposit time on the polygon bridge, there will be no impact on Polygon's infrastructure suppliers.

Ethereum Network

Q: After the Merge what happens to my dApps?

A: After the Merge, all applications running on Ethereum should run exactly as pre-Merge, with the state and transaction history maintained.

Q: Do ecosystem partners (wallets, RPC providers) need to make changes to their code after the Merge?

A: The Merge comes with changes to: block structure, slot/block timing, opcode changes, sources of on-chain randomness, concept of safe head and finalized blocks. You can learn more here and make changes accordingly.

Q: What do staking node operators and providers need to do to prepare for the Merge?
  • A: Ethereum validators need to complete the following steps before the switch:
    1. Run the execution client, consensus client, and the validator client.
    2. Make sure execution and consensus client are both synced using engine API
    3. Set up fee recipient address to collect mining fees. (This should be done only after terminal total difficulty has been announced on Mainnet.)

Q: What do non-validating node operators and providers need to do to prepare for the Merge?
  •  A: Ethereum node operators need to complete the following steps before the switch:
    1. Run the execution client and consensus client.
    2. Make sure execution and consensus clients are both synced using engine API

Q: Do I need to redeploy Ethereum dApps post-Merge?
  • A: For any dApps that have been pushed into production, you do not need to redeploy. If you are developing a dApp on a test network, be aware that the following popular test networks are being deprecated: Rinkeby, Ropsten, and Kovan.

    Moving forward, you should use Sepolia and Goerli as your test networks. More information on test networks is available on the official documentation.
Technical Misconceptions
"I need to update my Polygon Dapp or redeploy it after the merge."

No. You don’t need to do anything to your Polygon dApp, to prepare for the merge. Having said that, there are slight changes you might want to know. You can learn more here

“Due to network outages during the merge, smart contracts won't function.”

No. There won't be any network outages during the merge.

“During the merge, my Ethereum dApp won't be impacted.”

Even though you might not need to modify anything specifically to get ready for the merge, infrastructure providers like exchanges, on/off ramps, and RPC providers might have to stop offering services on Ethereum while they update their code. It may cause your dApp to experience some downtime. Learn more about the changes here.


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