What do You need to Know About the Merge?
The long-awaited Ethereum merge will finalize in two days. This event will be a major milestone in the history of Ethereum. The merge is designed to reduce Ethereum’s energy usage, making it much more environmentally friendly than Bitcoin.
The upgrade’s effects on the network will be wide-ranging. First, the price of Ether could rise or fall sharply. Additionally, mainstream adoption of ETH could increase or decrease. The security risks associated with Ethereum could be reduced or exacerbated.
For those who are new to the world of blockchain, it’s important to understand why people use blockchains in the first place. One of the most important ideals of technology is decentralization. This means that no central authority can control the blockchain.
A government might try to control a central bank, but they would have no such luck with a blockchain. Blockchains are designed to be self-sufficient and decentralized in their power structure.
Transition From Proof of Work
Proof of Work (PoW) is the consensus algorithm that both Bitcoin and Ethereum have used up until now. It is what allows the blockchain to operate without a controlling body. PoW works by having miners approve new and valid transactions by solving complex math puzzles.
The puzzles are designed to be difficult for hackers or tamperers to game the system. In return for their efforts, miners are rewarded in the blockchain’s currency.
The main problem with PoW is that it is very energy intensive. The puzzles need to be increasingly complex to make it more difficult for hackers to game the system. This requires more and more energy as time goes on. POW also has design issues in terms of security and scalability. This is why the developers of Ethereum decided to eventually switch over to a new system called Proof of Stake (PoS).
The Potential Benefits of the Merge
Some engineers argue that PoS is a more secure and scalable system. PoS works by having validators deposit money into the Ethereum network. These validators then earn rewards for approving or denying transactions. The amount of money a validator can earn is proportional to the amount they have deposited.
This system is designed to be more secure than PoW because it would be costly for hackers to game it. They would need to deposit a large amount of money into the network and would stand to lose that money if caught.
The merger is significant because it will mark the first time a major cryptocurrency has switched to PoS. Miners will no longer be financially incentivized to run computers around the clock. Additionally, the network’s energy usage will drop by more than 99%.
This is good news in terms of the environmental impact and could lead to increased mainstream ETH adoption. If people see that Ethereum is serious about reducing its energy usage, they may be more inclined to use it.
Several traditional companies and financial institutions are optimistic about the merge. They have expressed trepidation about jumping fully into Ethereum due to its enormous carbon footprint.
Joe Lubin, a co-founder of Ethereum and the founder of the blockchain company Consensys, said he’s talked with several “major financial institutions” who have been waiting until the merge to become “significantly involved” in Ethereum.
The merge is a big step for Ethereum, but it is not the final solution to the network’s scalability problems. The most anticipated tool is sharding, which will split the network’s data into smaller pieces.
This will make the network faster and cheaper to use. Buterin said in February that sharding could eventually lower fees to around a nickel. This would bring back many crypto users who had spurned Ethereum for other cheaper blockchains, like Solana and Avalanche.
ETH developers believe that switching to PoS will enhance security and make the ETH network more resistant to attacks.
Are There Risks Associated With the Merge?
The risks of the merge should not be underestimated, however. If something were to go wrong, the entire Ethereum network could come crashing down. This would be disastrous for the crypto industry as a whole. It would also be a major setback for efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of the blockchain.
Ethereum is a direct network for NFTs, DeFi, and DAOs. If something were to go wrong, almost $50 billion in user funds would be in peril..
Ethereum’s user base can split because of merge. If most people stick to the old Proof of Work (PoW) version of Ethereum, it will surely badly affect the new PoS-based ETH.
Ethereum may become more susceptible to censorship after the merge, putting ETH at the center of a gigantic battle between crypto and the US SEC. Many experts believe SEC may sue Ethereum as security after merge.
However New chapters of Ethereum’s journey are just beginning. The merge is a big step forward, but much work still needs to be done. Lubin says that the goal is to make Ethereum “internet-scale.”