After years of development and delay, the enormous upgrade of Ethereum known as the Merge is finally under way, transferring the digital machinery at the centre of the second-largest cryptocurrency to a system that uses a great deal less energy.
At the time of publication, the network has officially stopped depending on power-hungry cryptocurrency miners, having reached a critical point of no return.
The long-awaited upgrade is still being watched closely by Ethereum’s core developers, though. The key metrics that will show whether validators, the administrators of Ethereum’s new proof-of-stake network, are acting as expected and adding new transactions to the blockchain’s ledger are still being anxiously awaited by blockchain developers and enthusiasts gathered in Zoom conferences and joyful livestreams.
Switching from the proof-of-work method of running a blockchain to the proof-of-stake method is no easy task. Before the Merge took place, Justin Drake, a researcher at the nonprofit Ethereum Foundation, told local media,
“The metaphor that I use is this idea of switching out an engine from a running car. I like to think of it as kind of like the switch from gasoline to electric .”
If Ethereum’s dress rehearsals for the Merge are any indication, some initial problems are anticipated. But if it works, the benefits will be enormous. Already, Ethereum should use 99.9% less energy than before. One assessment compares it to Finland abruptly shutting down its electrical grid in terms of carbon output.
The network, which is home to a $60 billion ecosystem of cryptocurrency exchanges, lending organisations, non-fungible token (NFT) marketplaces, and other apps, will be upgraded, according to developers, if the Merge is successful in its entirety.
How ready was the Ethereum community to welcome the merge?
There were many methods available to those who wished to view the ETH network’s historic switch to proof-of-stake (PoS) in real-time.
An hour and a half prior to the anticipated time of the Merge, the Ethereum Foundation had organised an Ethereum Mainnet Merge Viewing Party live feed, which promptly went live on YouTube at 4:00 am UTC.
The Merge happened after the network’s total terminal difficulty, which was 58750000000000000000000, was reached. After that, the next block would have been created using a proof-of-stake algorithm.
The Ethereum Cat Herders, writers from Bankless and The Daily Gwei, and other guests are scheduled for The Ethereum Foundation’s live webcast.
Other “notable guests” were also alluded to in the description, possibly including Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin and “The Daily Gwei” founder Anthony Sassano, who have both taken part in testnet live streaming in the past.
Viewers who joined two hours before The Merge could “participate in a POAP art canvas,” according to the YouTube description.
Google, Wenmerge.com, and Blockchain.com all maintained a rolling tally of the current total Total Terminal Difficulty and a projected Merge time for users who desired the most up-to-date countdown to the Merge. BTC.com also has a countdown of its own.
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Furthermore, now with the completion of the Merge, ETH was priced at $1,632.81 with a steep rise of 2.63% over the last 24 hours.