The Ethereum Merge, a massive overhaul of the blockchain, is finally complete, transforming the Ethereum Mainnet into a far more energy-efficient system.
After proof-of-work was swapped for proof-of-stake, Ethereum should consume 99.9% or so less energy, equivalent to a country the size of Finland shutting its power grid off.
Justin Drake of the NPO Ethereum Foundation told CoinDesk, “The metaphor that I use is this idea of switching out an engine from a running car. I like to think of it as kind of like the switch from gasoline to electric.”
According to Ethereum’s developers, the upgrade will also make the network more scalable and secure. It is home to a $60 billion ecosystem of lending firms, cryptocurrency exchanges, NFT marketplaces, and more.
A complicated technical effort
The transition to proof-of-stake was a complex technical effort. The success of the risky endeavor was doubted by many. Its complexity was exacerbated by the fact that it was probably among the biggest open-source software endeavors in history.
Multiple developers, researchers, and volunteers and tens of teams had to coordinate.
The popular Merge viewing party
The Merge officially happened at 2:43 AM EST today. Tens of thousands watched an “Ethereum Mainnet Merge Viewing Party” on YouTube, holding their breath as key metrics showed Ethereum’s basic systems had not fallen apart. The Merge took place in 15 minutes and was a success.
An end to mining
The Merge puts an end to Ethereum’s reliance on crypto mining, which is very energy-intensive. The preparation and planning was watched closely by crypto fans, investors, and skeptics for the effect it is predicted to have on the wider blockchain industry.
Ether flat on the news
Billionaire investor Mark Cuban told CoinDesk he would be watching the event with as much interest as everyone else and suggested it could make ether deflationary. Right after the Merge took place, ether lost around 0.4%, trading at $1,632.
It is currently trading for $1,629, up 1.49% in the last 24 h according to CoinMarketCap data. Ether’s market cap is around $200 billion, making it the second-biggest cryptocurrency after bitcoin.
Tim Beiko, an Ethereum developer who was pivotal in coordinating the Merge said, “I think the Merge can genuinely get those people who were interested in Ethereum, but skeptical of the environmental impacts, to come and experiment with it.”