The new era: The Ethereum Merge successfully completed!

    15 Sep 2022

    The massive upgrade of the Ethereum network known as the Merge has finally happened, moving the digital core of the second-largest cryptocurrency to a more energy-efficient proof-of-stake protocol after years of development. The historic move casts aside the miners who had previously driven the blockchain, with promises of higher scalability and massive environmental benefits.

    When the Merge officially kicked in at 2:43 AM EST, over 41,000 people were tuned in on YouTube to an “Ethereum Mainnet Merge Viewing Party.” They watched with bated breath as key metrics trickled in suggesting that Ethereum’s core systems had remained intact. After around 15 long minutes, the Merge was officially finalized, meaning it could be declared a success.

    “There’s a part of me which hasn’t completely realized that this is actually happening,” Drake said. “I’m somewhat in denial, you know, because I’ve trained myself to just expect it to happen in the future.”

    The outcome is potentially gigantic. Ethereum should now consume 99.9% less energy. Ethereum’s developers say the upgrade will make the network – which houses a $60 billion ecosystem of cryptocurrency exchanges, lending companies, NFT marketplaces, and other apps – more secure and scalable, too.

    The idea was there from the start that Ethereum would eventually make the switch to proof-of-stake. But the transition was a complicated technical effort – an endeavor so risky that many doubted it would happen at all.

    The update’s complexity was compounded by the fact that it may have been one of the largest open-source software endeavors in history, requiring coordination across dozens of teams and scores of individual researchers, developers, and volunteers.

    The update, which ends the network’s reliance on the energy-intensive process of cryptocurrency mining, has been closely watched by crypto investors, enthusiasts, and skeptics for the impact it is expected to have on the whole blockchain industry.

    Mark Cuban, investor and billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, told CoinDesk he would be “watching [the Merge] with interest like everyone else,” pointing out that it might make ETH, the network’s native token, deflationary.

    Tim Beiko, an Ethereum Foundation developer who played a key role in coordinating the update, said to CoinDesk, “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.”

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