Ethereum plunges after Merge finally arrives

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Ethereum now runs on a proof-of-stake (PoS) instead of a proof-of-work (PoW) consensus model – Photo: Getty Images
                                

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Ethereum has plunged almost 16% since the long-awaited Ethereum Merge finally arrived.

The price of ETH, the second largest digital asset, which was $1,743.56 at 13:30 BST (UTC +1) on 13 September,  dropped sharply on the afternoon of Thursday, 15 September, falling 9.8% to $1,477.44 at 15:15 BST (UTC +1). It later recovered to $1,509,79, down 7.87% on the day, by 18:00. However, at 9:30 BST this morning, Friday September 16, it had dropped to $1,464.91, down 9.24% in 24 hours.

Earlier, Vitalik Buterin, one of the co-founders of Ethereum, said via Twitter : “And we finalized! Happy merge all. This is a big moment for the Ethereum ecosystem. Everyone who helped make the merge happen should feel very proud today.”

The Merge means “mining” new ETH coins, an energy-hungry process involving lengthy computer calculations, and known as Proof of Work, or PoW, is ending, to be replaced by a verification system known as Proof of Stake, or PoS

Justin Drake, an Ethereum researcher, said: “The Merge will reduce worldwide electricity consumption by 0.2%.”

13 September 2022: Singapore is the country most interested in the Ethereum Merge

Singapore has been ranked as the country most interested in the Ethereum Merge globally.

This is according to Coingecko research, the world’s largest independent crypto data aggregator.

Singapore tops the leader board with a total search score of 377.

Switzerland and Canada come in joint second with a score of 286, Germany third with 231, US fourth with 219 and the Netherlands fifth with 212.

Australia came in sixth with 212 and Turkey seventh with 208.

Bobby Ong, chief operating officer  and co-founder of Coingecko, said: “Anticipation for the Merge is at an all-time high, as its effects will ripple throughout the entire cryptocurrency ecosystem. The top eight rankings in this list seem to encompass countries with strong Ethereum communities, which might explain their high search scores in this study.”

Coingecko examined global Google Trends data of English search terms frequently used by people interested in the upcoming Ethereum Merge. These terms were then combined to give each country a “total search score” to discover which have been the most interested in the Ethereum Merge after the Gray Glacier Hard Fork on 30 June, 2022.

6 September 2022: What might happen after The Merge?

Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum (ETH), is to release a collection of writings he has made over the past 10 years in a book called Proof of Stake (Seven Stories Press), which is out in September.

People can order a signed digital copy or non-fungible token (NFT) version of the book at Gitcoin.co, which will receive a share of the proceeds to help fund open-source public goods.

Gitcoin (GTC) is a funding platform where developers get paid to develop Web 3.0 infrastructure.

The Merge, which is due to take place between 10 and 20 September, will mark the transition of Ether from a proof-of-work (PoW) crypto to a proof-of-stake (PoS) coin.

At this stage, no one can be entirely sure what will happen once The Merge is complete. 

There is no way of telling what might happen once The Merge is complete. It is possible that the system could stop working for whatever reason, or that the blockchain’s validators could act maliciously. This could lead to a significant amount of reputational damage for Ethereum, which could, potentially, lead to a serious market crash.

Even if that does not happen, it is always possible that scammers could take advantage of people through fake airdrop or support scams, while the status of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) could be exploited to swindle people out of their money.

Although The Merge is something many are looking forward to, there is a downside for Ethereum’s miners. They are set to lose out on their income. So some miners have teamed up to create a proof-of-work version of Ether called EthereumPoW (ETHW). While, again, we don’t know what, if anything, will happen to that coin, it might be worth keeping an eye on it. 

Once Ethereum moves to its new consensus mechanism, there is also the risk that it could become just another PoS chain. While the main forces in that arena, such as Solana and Cardano, have seen their coin’s prices drop over the past three months, we will have to keep track of their performance over the coming months, as they may experience a post-Merge boom. 

6 September 2022: 73% of nodes ready for The Merge

On the morning of 6 September, data from Ethernodes suggested that 73.1% of the system's nodes were ready for the latest Bellatrix upgrade. 

26 August 2022: Ethereum Merge expected between 10 and 20 September

The Ethereum Foundation has now widened the window for when The Merge is expected to take place, to between 10 and 20 September.

Earlier in August, the Foundation said The Merge will likely take place on 15 or 16 September.

The Foundation said that after “years of hard work, Ethereum’s proof-of-stake upgrade is finally here!”

22 August 2022: CME Group to launch Ethereum options prior to ETH 2.0 Merge

CME Group, the world’s leading derivatives marketplace, has announced it plans to launch options on Ether futures.

The Ether options will be launched on 12 September, pending regulatory review. The contracts will deliver one ether futures that will be 50 ETH per contract and based on the CME CF Ether-Dollar Reference Rate, which is a once-a-day reference rate of the US dollar price of Ether.

These contracts will also increase the size of CME Group’s current suite of crypto options contracts, such as the one for Bitcoin (BTC), as well as micro-sized Bitcoin and Ethereum (ETH) options.

Tim McCourt, global head of equity and FX products at CME Group, said: “The launch of these new options contracts builds on the significant growth and deep liquidity we have seen in our existing Ether futures, which have traded more than 1.8 million contracts to date.

“As we approach the highly anticipated Ethereum Merge next month, we continue to see market participants turn to CME Group to manage Ether price risk. Our new Ether options will offer a wide array of clients greater flexibility and added precision to manage their ether exposure ahead of market moving events."

The Ethereum Foundation has announced that the Merge will likely take place between 15 or 16 September.

17 August 2022: Coinbase pausing ETH deposits during Merge is ‘not significant’

Coinbase said the fact that it will be temporarily suspending Ethereum (ETH) deposits and withdrawals during The Merge is not “significant news”.   

The largest cryptocurrency exchange in the US said it “will briefly pause new ETH and ERC-20 token deposits and withdrawals as a precautionary measure.”

Coinbase explained that despite “The Merge being expected to be seamless from a user perspective” the pause will allow Coinbase to guarantee “the transition has been successfully reflected by its systems”.

Ethereum Foundation developer Tim Beiko retweeted an ETH Coinbase account that said that “this isn’t really significant news” as Coinbase is doing this “as a matter of practice and security” and had done so during “every major Ethereum protocol upgrade”.

The Merge will mark the transition of Ether from a proof-of-work (PoW) crypto to a proof-of-stake (PoS) coin.

12 August 2022: Ethereum Merge to take place 15/16 September after Goerli success

After the success of the Goerli Testnet merge, the Ethereum Foundation has announced that The Merge will likely take place between 15 or 16 September.

The Goerli merge was the third and final testnet merge before the official Merge of the Ethereum mainnet.

After numerous delays, this will mean Ethereum will start to run on a proof-of-stake (PoS) instead of a proof-of-work (PoW) consensus model.

4 August 2022: Ethereum developer recommends finematics YouTube explainers  

Ethereum Foundation developer Tim Beiko has said he “strongly recommends” the finematics.eth YouTube video explainer on The Merge, as its content is clear, accurate and “easy to understand”.

Beiko said the video is ideal “if you want to understand how things actually work without being a protocol expert.”

2 August 2022: Ethereum Merge party coming to Canada

Ethereum Vancouver is throwing an Ethereum Merge party on 5 August.

Tim Beiko, Ethereum Foundation developer, will be in attendance and the event will be sponsored by the Ethereum Foundation.

The event is in partnership with YVR DAO, a company that claims to be creating Vancouver’s Web 3.0 crypto hub.

Ethereum Vancouver, the Ethereum community in Vancouver, Canada, tweeted: “Tim will do a talk on the merge followed by a pre-merge celebration.”

25 July 2022: Ethereum has a chance to overtake Bitcoin due to the Merge

The Merge could result in Ethereum (ETH) overtaking Bitcoin (BTC) as the lead cryptocurrency, according to Ethereum researcher Vivek Raman.

Raman told CoinTelegraph: “Ethereum does have, just from an economic perspective and because of the effect of the supply shock, a chance to flip Bitcoin.”

The Merge could take place as early as 19 September, a date that was originally floated by Ethereum Foundation developer Tim Beiko earlier this month.

Raman added: “After The Merge, Ethereum will have lower inflation than Bitcoin. Especially with fee burns, Ethereum will be deflationary while Bitcoin will always be inflationary. Although, with every halving, the inflation rate goes down.”

The researcher maintained BTC will retain its function as digital gold, but added ETH will have “a larger adoption space” as the base layer used by the decentralised finance (DeFi) economy.

22 July 2022: Ethereum releases Merge misconception page

Ethereum’s official website has released its Merge misconception page, which answers commonly asked questions about the Merge.

Ethereum Foundation developer Tim Beiko gave credit to the team for setting the page up as he said: “I get asked these questions at least daily, awesome to have a single place to point people to.”

Misconception page questions include “will The Merge reduce gas fees” and “will transactions be noticeably faster after The Merge,” with the answer to both questions being no.

19 July 2022: ETH 2.0 Merge ‘seems more credible’ now 19 September target released

The timeline for the Ethereum 2.0 Merge “seems more credible than anything we have seen so far, namely several steps leading up to the week of 19 September,”  according to Dr Martin Hiesboeck, head of blockchain and crypto research at Uphold, a global, multi-asset, digital trading platform.

The date of 19 September was originally floated by Ethereum Foundation developer Tim Beiko.

However, Hiesboeck said he still remains “sceptical” regarding The Merge taking place in Septembe. He said: “If the overall markets don’t improve, the launch could be pushed back further still.”

15 July 2022: Will Ethereum 2.0’s Merge take place on 19 September?

A preliminary date for the long-awaited transition of Ethereum to a proof-of-stake model – better known as The Merge – could take place as early as 19 September.

The date was floated by Ethereum Foundation developer Tim Beiko as he outlined a potential ETH 2.0 timeline during a developers’ conference call.

An Ethereum developer, known as @superphiz on Twitter, welcomed the timeline, saying “it’s extremely exciting” to see The Merge come together.

According to the timeline, the final of three public testnets, known as Goerli, is set to go through the Merge process on 11 August. More details for this are thought to be coming from Beiko on Monday next week.

30 June 2022: The Gray Glacier goes live on Ethereum network

The Gray Glacier upgrade is now live on the Ethereum (ETH) network.

The purpose behind the Gray Glacier upgrade is to push back the difficulty bomb, which is an important part of The Merge, by “roughly 100 days”.

Bitfly, a blockchain technology firm in Austria predicted that the Gray Glacier is “probably the last hard fork before The Merge”.

29 June 2022: High inflation and energy costs mean ETH 2.0 Merge makes ‘less sense'

Dr Martin Hiesboeck, head of blockchain and crypto research at Uphold, a global, multi-asset, digital trading platform, has stated that due to current economic conditions, “it makes less sense to actually execute The Merge”.

Hiesboeck explained that despite ETH 2.0 being motivated by “environmental concerns”, high inflation rates and rising energy prices mean that even a “proof-of-stake (PoS) Ethereum is far too expensive”.

22 June 2022: Ethereum Sepolia testnet Beacon Chain goes live for trial Merge

The Sepolia testnet Beacon Chain has gone live meaning Ethereum (ETH) is now getting ready for its Merge dress rehearsal.    

Once it has merged with its dedicated Beacon Chain, the Sepolia testnet will begin reaching consensus using a PoS mechanism rather than a proof-of-work (PoW) one.

This will provide data on what may happen when the Ethereum mainnet performs the Merge.

Ethereum developer Tim Beiko said in April that the Ropsten testnet would eventually be phased out over time and replaced by Sepolia.

21 June 2022: HBAR Foundation CEO ‘sceptical’ ETH 2.0 Merge will happen

Shayne Higdon, co-founder and CEO of the HBAR Foundation, which promotes the acceleration of the Hedera (HBAR) ecosystem, is “sceptical” that the ETH 2.0 Merge will happen.

“It’s been promised for years and continues to get delayed,” Higdon said.

However, Ethereum developer Tim Beiko has predicted that the Merge will take place between late August and November.

16 June 2022: Cardano founder: ETH 2.0 will not be ‘fully operational’ until 2023

Charles Hoskinson, the founder of Cardano (ADA) has predicted that ETH 2.0 will not be “fully operational” until 2023 or “maybe even 2024”.

Hoskinson made these remarks whilst talking to Simon Bogdanowicz, chief strategy officer at Web 3.0 venture studio, Gravity Ventures at DCENTRAL, the Web 3.0, non-fungible token (NFT) and metaverse event which was part of Consensus 2022.   

14 June 2022: ETH 2.0’s Merge will take place between August and November

Ethereum developer Tim Beiko has predicted that The Merge will take place between late August and November.

Beiko said this during a Twitter conversation with Ben Edgington, who is also working on the ETH 2.0 upgrade.

This is just a “rough target”, though, and Beiko added that “speed of fixing bugs and number of new issues encountered is what makes it hard to predict.”

13 June 2022: Difficulty bomb part of Merge and ETH 2.0 upgrade is delayed

The difficulty bomb part of The Merge, which is one of the three elements to the ETH 2.0 upgrade, has been delayed and pushed back by two and a half months.

The idea behind the difficulty bomb is that it reduces the profitability of proof-of-work (PoW) mining. This is an important aspect for the ETH 2.0 upgrade as it will result in the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency moving from the energy-hungry PoW consensus mechanism to the leaner, greener proof-of-stake (PoS) system.

The Merge was due to take place by August 2022 and will mark the end of PoW mining for Ethereum (ETH).

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