The Ethereum beacon chain, which will be crucial to the Ethereum Merge scheduled for later this year, today experienced a potentially high-level security risk known as a blockchain “reorganization.”
A reorganization, or reorg, can happen either through a network failure, such as a bug, or a malicious attack, temporarily resulting in a duplicate version of a blockchain. The longer a reorg lasts, the more serious the consequences.
Today’s reorg on the Ethereum Beacon Chain lasted seven blocks—the longest such reorg in years, according to Martin Köppelmann, CEO and co-founder of DeFi service provider Gnosis.
The Beacon Chain, which launched on December 1, 2020, introduced native staking to the Ethereum blockchain. Staking, which involves pledging assets to a network, is how validators will become eligible to add blocks to the chain, a main tenet of the proof-of-stake consensus model.
The Ethereum Merge, previously referred to as “Ethereum 2.0,” is a significant and long-awaited upgrade to the current network and will mark its transition from proof of work to proof of stake. The merge, scheduled for August, will combine the Beacon Chain with the Ethereum mainnet. That means problems with the Beacon Chain could potentially further delay the merge.
Köppelmann noted today’s Ethereum reorg in a Twitter thread, saying that it’s evidence there’s more work to be done ahead of the merge.
“This shows that the current attestation strategy of nodes should be reconsidered to hopefully result in a more stable chain,” he wrote.