Although the Ethereum Merge is touted as a significant upgrade of the blockchain network, it’s transition to proof-of stake theoretically makes the Ethereum Merge more vulnerable to being exploited.
Cointelegraph was informed by a security researcher that, unlike proof-of work (PoW), a proof-of stake (PoS) system tells node validateators in advance which blocks they will validate. This allows them to plan attacks.
The security expert who requested not to be identified is a security researcher and a blockchain developer working on a proof of-stake layer-2 Blockchain.
According to the researcher, an exploit could theoretically be found on the post-Merge Ethereum Blockchain if validators can line up two blocks consecutively to validate.
“If you own two blocks consecutively, you can create an exploit on N and then finish it on N+1. There is no arbitrage bot needed to fix the price you manipulate in between.
“From an economic security perspective, this vulnerability makes it relatively easy to pull off these attacks.”
According to the expert, it is possible for miners in PoW networks to validate consecutive blocks. However, this comes down to luck and leaves no time for planning an attack.
According to security researcher, Ethereum will lose some security strength when the Merge takes place.
“As we currently stand [with] Ethereum proof of-work versus Ethereum stake, Ethereum proof of-work has stronger security […] as well as economic guarantees.”
“But that being said […] Proof-of-stake [still] provides sufficient practical security and it doesn’t really matter if it’s theoretically less secure than proof-of work. He said that it was still very secure.
Related: Armstrong and Buterin reflect on the proof-of-stake shift in Ethereum Merge as Buterin nears
Security expert said that Ethereum was working to fix [the consecutive block problem].
This is a difficult problem to solve. But, if it’s done, proof-of-stake will increase as they have protection against these attack vectors.
PoS will be slashed for Ethereum validators, since the consensus rules were created to incentivize validators in correctly validating incoming transactions. Any conduct contrary to this would result in their ETH stake being slashed.
According to Blocknative’s Ethereum Countdown, the Ethereum Merge will take place on September 15th at 2:30 AM UTC. The transition from PoS will make the Ethereum network more energy-efficient and scalable.