After years of planning, Ethereum’s much-anticipated switch from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake took place today. The “Merge” means that Ethereum mining is dead, which is good news ahead of new GPU releases from Nvidia and AMD later this year.
The shift from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake means that transactions on the Ethereum blockchain are now processed using portions of the currency that are staked, with those choosing to lock up their funds being rewarded for doing so. In the past, transactions relied on massive amounts of computational power to process these same transactions, providing rewards for those lending their GPU processing to the cause.
This is one of the biggest reasons GPU prices spiked so drastically during the COVID-19 pandemic, exasperated by the lack of supply. In the last few months, as the price of Ethereum has fallen, GPU prices have quickly nosedived too, and are likely to continue doing so now that numerous mining establishments will be either closing up or attempting to move onto a new cryptocurrency to try and profit off of.
This merge also means that Ethereum is now much more environmentally friendly, with energy consumption estimated to be down by 99.95%. Given that the entire Ethereum network was producing a carbon footprint equivalent to that of Hong Kong according to a recent study, this is an extremely positive change. Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin shared a statistic suggesting that global energy consumption has decreased by 0.2% following the change to proof of stake.
Bitcoin is now the last notably large cryptocurrency that is still operating as proof-of-work, and it seems unlikely that it’s going to change soon. Mining Bitcoin is mostly pointless for individual consumers and is mostly operated by large companies now, meaning you shouldn’t have to worry about miners swooping in on potential RTX 4090 stock soon.
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