Ethereum Merge is complete, signaling the opening of a new period for the network.

Ethereum Merge is complete, signaling the opening of a new period for the network.

The huge overhaul of Ethereum called the Merge is finally complete, pushing the digital machinery of the second-largest cryptocurrency to a much more energy-efficient system following years of delay and development.

It wasn’t a small feast swapping out proof-of-work for another, known as proof-of-stake, but the payoff is massive, as Ethereum can now consume 99.9% less energy. 

For Ethereum developers, the upgrade would make the network more scalable and secure.

After the Merge officially kicked in at 6:43 a.m. UTC, over 41,000 people went to YouTube via an “Ethereum Mainnet Merge Viewing Party” to watch as major metrics trickled in, indicating that Ethereum key systems remained intact. 

After 15 long minutes, the Merge was officially finalized, showing it can be called a success. The price of ETH became flat after the Merge.

This update, which stops Ethereum’s dependence on the energy-intensive process of Crypto mining, was watched by Cryptocurrency enthusiasts, investors, and skeptics, including the effect it’s anticipated to have on the blockchain industry.

In the cryptocurrency market, the Merge has become an object of speculation since July, as traders initially saw the event and upgrade as a cause for a steep rally in the ETH price.

The notion was that Ethereum would finally switch to proof-of-stake. However, the transition will be a complicated technical effort.

The complexity of the upgrade was based on the fact that it might be one of the biggest open-source software endeavors globally, needing coordination across 12 teams and 20 individual developers, researchers, and volunteers.

Tim Beiko, an Ethereum Foundation developer and a major player in the update coordination, said in an interview, “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.”

Farewell to miners

This key upgrade has cast aside the Crypto miners who had driven the blockchain with huge environmental benefit promises.

The Merge is retiring Ethereum’s proof-of-work model that miners compete to write transactions and receive rewards for their efforts. In other words, Ethereum’s new system, proof-of-stake, remove mining entirely.

The Crypto miners are replaced by validators, individuals who “stake” a minimum of 32 ETH by transferring them to an Ethereum network address where they can’t be sold or bought.

What’s next?

On Thursday, Vitalik Buterin, the Ethereum’s co-creator, reflected on the Merge during the viewing party. He said, “This is the first step in Ethereum’s big journey towards being a very mature system, but there are still steps left to go.” 

Buterin stated that Ethereum’s high fees and slow speeds, which were not addressed by the update, remain a barrier.

The Ethereum’s co-creator believes the Merge is only the beginning. According to him, “To me, the Merge just symbolizes the difference between early stage Ethereum, and the Ethereum we’ve always wanted to become. So let’s go build out all of the other parts of this ecosystem and turn Ethereum into what we want it to be.”

Photo by Jievani