Ethereum, the second most popular cryptocurrency, has finally made a move to proof-of-stake, which will allow it cut its energy demands significantly. The long-awaited Merge saw the Ethereum Mainnet execution layer and the Beacon Chain’s consensus layer coming together at the Terminal Total Difficulty of 58750000000000000000000, meaning the network won’t be dependent on the proof-of-work consensus mechanism anymore.
The transition has been in the works for the last six years; however, things won’t change much for the average Ethereum user. The shift will have a bigger impact on crypto miners. According to the Ethereum Foundation, the Merge will make the network 99.95% more energy efficient, paving the way for future scaling solutions such as sharding.
Ethereum’s Technical Roadmap
Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum’s co-founder, also put a celebratory tweet after the historical transition occurred.
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.
— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) September 15, 2022
The switchover kicked off on September 6 after the Bellatrix upgrade was deployed. It is now complete after the Terminal Total Difficulty block was mined, triggering the Paris upgrade. With the completion of the Merge, Ethereum’s technical roadmap has four more stages left — “Surge,” “Verge,” “Purge,” and “Splurge.”
Cutting Energy Costs By 99%
Ethereum previously ran on proof-of-work, where machines across the globe competed to crunch complex puzzles to add a new block to the chain. That process was too power-hungry as several miners were competing to solve the puzzle, but only one managed to crack the code, and the energy used by other miners went into vain.
However, proof-of-stake has validators who put their Ethereum as collateral. If they don’t follow the protocol, they lose the Ethereum they stacked. The Ethereum Foundation believes the switch will bring down energy costs by 99%. The Merge has been hit with delays since 2017, sparking a meme fest on several platforms. Well, not anymore!
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