And relax… After moves that have been years in the making, the Ethereum cryptocurrency is now based 100% on proof-of-stake validation in order to complete all transactions on its blockchain.
Previously the cryptocurrency used proof-of-work calculations in order to complete the same job – essential calculations which keep the blockchain perfectly in balance and check. Long-standing crypto such as Bitcoin still use proof-of-work but increasingly, as the blockchain has become larger, such calculations are taking longer and as such are using more and more energy, giving the entire crypto world a bad look for precisely the modern, hip, bold, forward-thinking crowd it would like to attract.
It’s not a move that’s been taken lightly as there is inevitably a degree of risk in flipping billions of dollars in virtual currency from one form into another. But it seems the naysayers were wrong and, while there was some flurry of activity with some parties dumping Ethereum prior to the switch, the collapse of the currency (or its total removal from existence) thankfully failed to happen.
The move to proof-of-stake – requiring far less energy – has been inevitable, and after literally years of hinting and promising, Ethereum, one of Bitcoin’s largest crypto rivals, has successfully completed the switch over – nicknamed ‘the merge’ – only hours ago.
How did the merge merge?
The magic Ethereum blockchain TTD (Terminal Total Difficulty) number of 58750000000000000000000 was reached earlier this morning – precisely as predicted – being the beginning of a new era with all calculations on the network flipped from using proof-of-stake rather than proof-of-work. Every transaction past this chosen ’round’ TTD is proof-of-stake.
And the good news is… So far there is no news. The move has taken months of planning with assorted dry runs and tests taking place over the last year in order to ensure that the new proof-of-stake system seamlessly ‘merges’ with in-progress proof-of-work calculations and no data is lost (or valuable owned currency inexplicably destroyed).
So far so good.
Evangelos Pappas, CTO at Metanomic commented “The successful Ethereum merge marks a milestone for the open source, crypto and dev-Ethereum community. The shift to proof-of-stake makes Ethereum greener and easier to run and participate. Having said that, this change, although important, does not bring any significant day-to-day changes. But it marks the celebration of a new dev-build era. What we expect to see from now on, is a series of more important merges like today’s through the following updates; surge, verge, purge and splurge which all, in combination, will lead to the completion of Ethereum’s vision roadmap. The important message that this merge carries out, is that the whole focus is now on L2 and L3 protocols and applications that will practically provide the solutions for various verticals of identity, DAOs, gaming, metaverse, DeFi and more. I’m equally very excited, and let’s focus on building.”
Şekip Can Gökalp, Core Contributor to web3 gaming startup Infinite Arcade and CEO of mobile games self-publishing platform Coda, said “ETH is one of the most active and foundational technologies for Web3 gaming. The success of today’s merge to a Proof of Work blockchain will create the right climate where ETH can be used to power more game experiences with no negative environmental impact.
“There are still barriers to get over to expand web3 gaming to the masses, but this is a huge step forward in that journey. The merge has reduced ETH’s carbon footprint by 99%, which will be another major milestone in scaling Web3 to the billions without hurting the planet. Overall, it will make future upgrades and improvements much easier and faster, which will help grow the developer ecosystem and attract more creators which will attract more consumers.”
A happy ending
So as of right now approximate calculations place the Ethereum blockchain as using around 1% of the energy that it was previously and that’s good news for everyone. Including Ethereum, which can now hold it’s head up alongside more eco-friendly currencies such as the increasingly popular Solana.
Want to know more? Get a guide to proof-of-work and proof-of-stake here.