The second-largest blockchain in the world released its long-awaited “Merge” upgrade early Thursday morning, transitioning the network from a Proof-of-Work consensus algorithm to a Proof-of-Stake consensus algorithm.
Over 40,000 individuals watched when the Merge was released as Ethereum devs and other important community members welcomed the update through live streaming. Vitalik Buterin, a co-founder of Ethereum, referred to the event on Twitter as “a significant milestone for the Ethereum ecosystem.”
Early Thursday morning, the network’s Total Terminal Difficulty barrier, a parameter that affects the difficulty of mining Ethereum blocks, reached 58750000000000000000000. The Paris update follows last week’s Bellatrix release, which prepped Ethereum’s consensus layer for the main event.
The transfer resulted in the “merging” of Ethereum’s Proof-of-Work mainnet and Proof-of-Stake Beacon Chain; it has been compared to an aircraft switching engines mid-flight.
Proof-of-Stake is anticipated to bring about significant improvements to the Ethereum network. Ethereum will become much more efficient as it will no longer depend on miners using energy-intensive gear.
On the Ethereum Foundation’s live feed, researcher Justin Drake said that the change will lower global power use by 0.2%. Previously, Ethereum issued around 13,000 ETH every day, but it will now only distribute approximately 1,600 ETH to validators.
However, although the majority of Ethereum enthusiasts have been expecting the event, the Merge has also been a source of concern for Ethereum miners, since it rendered them obsolete.
In the summer, a group of Proof-of-Work supporters joined together to protect a new version of the network known as EthereumPOW. In the next twenty-four hours, the Proof-of-Work chain is anticipated to go live with an airdrop for ETH holders.