After years of delays, the Ethereum network finally closed the chapter of the Proof-of-Work consensus mechanism and built its Proof-of-Stake empire.
The Merge – the high-anticipated upgrade – was successfully deployed on the blockchain on Sept. 15 at 06:42:42 UTC at block 15,537,393.
Unlike most updates, the activation of the Merge relied on the mining difficulty or the Terminal Total Difficulty. The Ethereum mainnet execution layer merged with the Beacon Chain consensus layer at the TTD of 58,750,000,000,000,000,000,000.
A few weeks after the deployment of Bellatrix on the Beacon Chain, the Paris update was activated on the execution layer.
The Merge marked the end of mining Ether on the network followed by the massive shutdown of mining servers, including those from the world’s largest mining pool, Ethermine.
Eli Ben-Sasson, StarkWare president and co-founder, said in an interview with Cointelegraph that the ambitious upgrade will drive more adoption of Ethereum.
“It starts a chain reaction of changes. The end result will be the very broad use of Ethereum’s computing power and the general population using blockchain-based apps in many different areas of life.”
What’s Waiting Post-Merge?
Certain changes stand in the spotlight. The most evident is the role shift; stakers are now new miners following the shutdown of mining activity. The upgrade also formed a completely different tokenomics.
Most importantly, the Merge will make the blockchain more sustainable and energy-efficient since it replaced energy-intensive computers with a more energy-efficient mechanism to validate transactions on the network. As a result, Ethereum’s carbon footprint will decline massively.
The estimated reduction rate is 99%.
The Merge has no effect on the end-user experience on Ethereum, but it is an important step toward more enhancements that will make the network faster and cheaper, perhaps increasing its stature and usage.
The Ethereum community, particularly enthusiasts, have celebrated the network’s new era with enthusiastic messages shared over Twitter accounts and Ethereum-inspired artworks.
The Merge, however, is the beginning. Ethereum still needs to complete the following key phases: The Surge, The Verge, The Purge, and The Splurge.
Vitalik Buterin targets 100,000 transactions per second after the final phase is completed. And it’s a very long journey.
Sharding and other second-layer solutions will now be explored by developers as potential answers to Ethereum’s scalability problems.
Market Not Moving
Several miners are not quitting the mining process, many are turning to Ethereum Classic, a hard fork of the Ethereum network formed in 2016. According to the latest data, the hashrate of Ethereum Classic has experienced impressive progress in recent weeks.
So, in less than a month, the Ethereum Classic hashrate has grown by 270%, from 30 to 84 TH/sec.
A performance that shows how miners have become more interested and how computer resources are moving to this network.
Furthermore, prominent mining pools including F2Pool, Pooling, 2miners, BTC.com, and even Nanopool will continue to mine on the Ethereum-PoW network (ETHW), which will be established 24 hours after the Merge.
Other pools are claimed to be ready to participate in the movement and to be deploying their mining hardware through the Ethereum-PoW test network.
For three months, the second most valuable cryptocurrency by market capitalization has been in a bullish channel. Data from TradingView indicated a short-lived pump in Ether’s price following the upgrade.
In time, this will help, and more people will use the network. Price isn’t everything, but it makes news.
However, given the global economic downfall, the network upgrades don’t really move the market. The market is still volatile and there are still growing concerns about the interest hike at the next Fed meeting, especially since the latest inflation rate is still high.