When Ethereum launched in 2015, it followed in the footsteps of many other crypto, using a consensus mechanism known as proof-of-work (PoW). Now Ethereum is on track to replace that system with a more energy-efficient process known as proof-of-stake (PoS), in an epic shift in the Ethereum platform now called the Merge.
The chief difference between these two consensus algorithms — proof of work vs. proof of stake — is how much energy they consume. The belief is that moving to a proof-of-stake model will cut Ethereum’s energy needs by over 99%.
Currently, the Ethereum Merge (formerly called Ethereum 2.0) is scheduled to launch around Sept. 15 or 16, 2022, though that date may change. For most end users, there is nothing that needs to be done — the Merge will happen behind the scenes. Here’s what else you need to know.
What Will Happen During the Merge?
On August 10, Ethereum completed the final preparatory and testing steps necessary before doing the Ethereum Merge. During the Merge, the Ethereum network will migrate from the current main branch with a new consensus model also known as the Beacon chain. This process is intended to be seamless to the end user.
Why Is The Merge Happening?
When Bitcoin was first proposed and introduced back in 2009, it validated new coins using a proof-of-work system. With PoW, cryptocurrency miners use complicated mathematical computations to validate transactions on the blockchain. PoW has been widely criticized for its excessive energy use.
The Ethereum Merge is happening to move the project to a more energy-efficient “proof of stake” (PoS) model for validation. With PoS, the people that validate the blockchain are the current network participants. To participate in the validation, participants stake some of their own coins to attest that they believe a given block to be valid.
One estimate that’s widely quoted is that moving to a proof-of-stake model could cut Ethereum’s energy use by over 99%.
What Is and Isn’t Changing?
The big thing that is changing with the Ethereum Merge is migrating from the current proof-of-work model to a proof-of-stake model. This will be the end of traditional crypto mining as a way to generate new Ethereum tokens.
Otherwise, nothing will change for most end investors and non-node operating stakers. If you hold Ethereum or ETH tokens, there is no need to do anything to prepare for the Merge.
How Will the Merge Affect Current ETH Holders?
The Ethereum Merge is intended to take place with no downtime to current customers. So if you are a current ETH holder, there is no need to do anything.
In fact, you should be aware of and on the lookout for scams. If anyone approaches you saying that you need to convert your ETH into ETH2 tokens or do anything else because of the upcoming merge, it is likely a scam.
Will the Price of Ethereum Go Up After the Merge?
The Ethereum merge is not intended to significantly impact the price of Ethereum or ETH tokens. As with most investments, the price might go up or might go down, and past performance is no guarantee of future results.
📈 Live Look: Current ETH Price
What Happens to ETH?
The developers and admins of Ethereum have stated that there should not be any impact to end users, including their ETH tokens. There will not be a separate ETH2 token — instead, Ethereum 2.0 refers to the overall process of upgrading, merging and improving the overall ecosystem.
If anybody reaches out to you to get you to convert your ETH tokens into an ETH2 token, there is no need to do so (and the offer could be a scam). As of this writing, there is no need for ETH holders to convert their tokens.
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Ethereum and its native token ether (ETH) have been growing steadily since the platform launched in 2015. The Ethereum platform is scheduled to shift from a proof-of-work (PoW) to a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism around Sept. 15 or 16, 2022.
This transaction is intended to be seamless to the end user, so there is no need to do anything special with your account or wallet.
Photo credit: iStock/Alexander Gavrilov
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