How The Ethereum Merge Took Place And What Lies Ahead For The Network?

The merge will not significantly improve speed or gas fees for users, but future upgrades will target overall network improvement.

Ethereum Enters A New Era

The entire crypto space had been abuzz for one of the most anticipated events in the blockchain era: the Ethereum Merge. The event transitioned the Ethereum blockchain from Proof-of-Work to a Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism. Though Ethereum began as a Proof-of-Work network, founder Vitalik Buterin had actually envisaged in the early days of the Ethereum project the possibility for the ETH blockchain to migrate to a Proof-of-Stake model.

On September 15, an excited group of Ethereum enthusiasts joined a virtual watch party to watch the historic event take place. The Merge finally happened around 6.30 am, prompting Vitalik Buterin to tweet triumphantly,

“And we finalized! Happy merge, all. This is a big moment for the Ethereum ecosystem. Everyone who helped make the merge happen should feel very proud today,” Buterin said.

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The Ethereum blockchain is the 2nd largest chain in market capitalization and has become popular thanks to its support for smart contracts and decentralized applications. What does all the hype surrounding the Merge translate to? Would regular users be affected by the change?

Here are some key points to note about the Ethereum Merge:

  • Gas fees are mainly unaffected.

Many users had hoped that the Merge would solve Ethereum’s recurring problem of high gas fees. But the Ethereum Foundation has debunked such hopes, saying that reduction in gas fees is purely dependent on network demand and capacity, which were not significantly affected by the Merge.

  • Ethereum blockchain is now more Climate-friendly

Ethereum as a POW system is estimated to use as much electricity as Norway yearly, according to Forbes. Blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum that use a Proof-of-Work model have faced sustained regulatory scrutiny because of the alleged high energy demands and environmental pollution. Ethereum’s post-merge POS will require about 99.95% less energy than the old POW.

Hopefully, the Merge should make Ethereum more acceptable to regulators and environmental activists. The world’s richest man Elon Musk famously backtracked on his support for Bitcoin adoption because of energy concerns. He said he would consider investing in cryptocurrencies that use less than 1% of Bitcoin’s energy consumption. With Ethereum fixing its energy issues, would Elon consider switching his support to $ETH?

  • No Major Upgrade of Network Speed

The switch from POW to POS increased Ethereum’s rate of block generation by a marginal 10%. The Ethereum Foundation does not expect the slight increase in block rate to translate into any noticeable increase in transaction speed for end users.

  • Any New Token?

As sometimes happens when blockchain networks undergoes significant changes or forks, a fair number of investors anticipated that the Merge would yield a new coin. The official position of the Ethereum Foundation is that there is no new coin: ETH remains ETH. But Decrypt reported that some POW Ethereum miners have objected to moving from POW to POS – faced with the dilemma of their costly POW mining equipment becoming useless.

So while everyone else moves on to POS, these miners will stick to POW and have gone on to float their version of the Ethereum coin – $ETHW. Vitalik Buterin promptly criticized the miners.

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What Next For Ethereum?

Improving scalability and network performance remains the ultimate goal of the core Ethereum blockchain developers. During an Ethereum Community Conference in July, Vitalik Buterin outlined the post-merge roadmap for Ethereum. He said that after the Merge, the network would go through about four more phases: Surge, Verge, Purge, and Splurge – to implement techs such as Sharding, Verkle trees, and higher level cryptography.

These future integrations would improve Ethereum’s scalability, minimize network congestion, and sync the chain better with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) and Zero-knowledge systems. Vitalik Buterin estimates the Merge would achieve up to 55% of Ethereum’s overall network development.

As end users assess the impact of the Merge, the hope is that when the remaining phases on its roadmap are completed, Ethereum will be able to overcome network issues like latency, congestion, high gas fees, that have perennially plagued the network.

Source : bsc.news

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