Either you’ve spent the last few weeks in a cave, or you’ve heard about it, I mean of course “The merge“. Yes, today the ETH blockchain is officially moving from a “proof of work” model to a “proof of stake” model.
It has taken a long time since the creation of the beacon chain but the merge between it and the main chain has finally happened. Sounds complicated? Don’t worry, we’ll clear it up! Ready to go? Let’s get started!
What is The Merge?
The Merge refers to the Ethereum network’s use of proof-of-stake (PoS), which is also known as the “consensus mechanism” for crypto transactions. The previously in use Proof-of-Work (PoW) system is now replaced with this new one. This technique, which was first introduced by Bitcoin, has the drawback of using a lot more energy.
Beacon Chain, a PoS network, has been around since 2020. But transaction processing was not yet done on this network. It served primarily to give the computers that make up the Ethereum network time to get ready for the major switch to PoS. The “execution” layer of the PoW core network and the “consensus” layer of the Beacon Chain had to combine in order for this shift to take place. Exactly this is what we witnessed today!
Why this update?
Decrease in the energy consumed by the Ethereum network
It takes a lot of energy to keep thousands of extremely powerful machines running nonstop in order to compete with one another. The fundamental issue is that for any of them to produce interesting output, they must all be running nonstop.
Of course, the large carbon footprint of a blockchain like Ethereum is the main effect of this consumption. The Ethereum Foundation calculated that the switch to Proof of Stake may result in a 99.95% reduction in power consumption, or 2,000 less than Ethereum’s Proof of Work version.
After years of talking about it, the new proof of stake version of Ethereum is finally here. The merge itself represents a real technological feat.
Nevertheless, it is still necessary to correct some of your preconceived ideas. No, transaction fees will not drop drastically due to this upgrade, and the speed gain will only marginally improve the scalability of the Ethereum blockchain.
On the other hand, this “Merge” lays the foundations of what could be a future scalability solution. The best is yet to come!