- The highly anticipated Ethereum Merge is less than 24 hours away.
- The move switches Ethereum’s consensus mechanism from Proof-of-Work to Proof-of-Stake.
- Some miners are planning on forking from the PoS chain.
Google Cloud developer Sam Padilla revealed that a countdown clock for the Ethereum Merge would be available in Google Search. Now, according to that timer, there’s less than 24hrs remaining till the Ethereum blockchain officially migrates to the highly anticipated Proof-of-Stake-based consensus mechanism.
The Merge is an update introduced to appease those who have voiced concerns about the environmental impact of cryptocurrencies. At the moment, Ethereum consumes a significant amount of power, with some reports claiming it could rival a small nation. Post Merge, the blockchain network is expected to consume 99.9% less energy.
According to Vitalik Buterin, one of Ethereum’s co-founders, The Merge has been in the works since Ethereum’s inception in 2014 but has been repeatedly delayed owing to technological difficulties.
With the Merge, the Ethereum Proof-of-Work blockchain will combine with a mirror image dubbed the Beacon Chain, which has been operating on a different protocol called Proof-of-Stake since 2020.
Since Proof-of-Stake replaces cryptocurrency miners with a smaller number of “validators” who stake their own stash of Ethereum tokens against their work, the number of computers required to maintain the blockchain is drastically reduced.
Proof-of-Stake is a consensus mechanism that minimizes Ethereum’s energy consumption and, according to its proponents, will eventually lead to a net reduction in the currency’s supply.
However, there are some miners who are preparing to conduct a hard fork post-Merge to be able to continue using the Proof-of-Work version of the blockchain. Dubbed “ETHPoW”, with the native token “ETHW”, the fork is expected to happen 24 hours after the Merge. More precisely, the PoW chain would start processing transactions 2,049 blocks after the Merge.
The Merge is set to transpire at a terminal total difficulty level of 58,750,000,000T. At press time, the total difficulty stands at 58,685,019,302T.