After months of anticipation, September 15, 2022 finally saw the merger of the Ethereum mainnet execution layer and the Beacon Chain’s consensus layer. The Merge finally ushers in the days of Ethereum’s proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism. This renders defunct the proof-of-work (PoW) consensus for the Ethereum network.
In his celebratory and congratulatory tweet, Ethereum’s co-founder, Vitalik Buterin, said the Merge “is a big moment for the Ethereum ecosystem.” And the NFT community did not hesitate to prove this fact.
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.
— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) September 15, 2022
Merge-Inspired Creations: From NFTs to Artworks to Songs
Moments after the Merge, a user purchased the first PoS NFT for 36 ETH (~$60,000). The NFT tagged “The Transition,” which bears a panda’s face, is a time capsule showing the moment of the first PoS NFT mint. The NFT is part of a panda face collection, with a floor price of 0.6 ETH.
(It is noteworthy that “The Transition” wasn’t the only NFT that made headlines on the day of the Merge. The last block on the PoW Ethereum network was minted as an NFT for 31.5 ETH.)
The Transition’s purchase triggered a wave of commemorative tweets. Some users tweeted their first minted NFTs, while members of the Ethereum community displayed their first PoS purchases.
Furthermore, top companies and brands were not left out in celebrating the Merge. For instance, blockchain company Consensys urged its users to make their first PoS transactions by minting any of its Merge-commemorating NFTs. Beeple, on the other hand, created an Ethereum logo that formed slowly, aided by scientists. Musician and a member of the Ethereum community, Jonathan Mann, composed a song titled, “The Merge Song.” The song is a lyrical rendition of the history of Ethereum.
THE MERGE pic.twitter.com/7tdfNZiuuv
— beeple (@beeple) September 15, 2022
But What is [in] The Merge?
Basically, the Merge is a shift from the energy-intensive PoW to the ecofriendly PoS consensus. The new consensus mechanism does away with miners and now uses validators. A validator is anybody who can stake at least 32 ETH on the network. Users can also stake smaller amounts through exchanges or staking pools.
What The Merge Will Do
Ethereum’s shift to PoS will reduce energy consumption by 99.95%. According to Buterin, this is not only good for the environment, but for “non-environmental externalities.” For instance, it is believed that this consensus would reduce GPU price hike brought about by ETH mining.
What The Merge Will Not Do
Contrary to some opinions, the new consensus will not shorten transaction time on the network. Although the consensus will produce blocks 10% more frequently than the defunct PoW, it will not cause a significant change in the transaction time.
Furthermore, the consensus mechanism will not take care of the ridiculously high gas fees on the network. According to the Ethereum Foundation:
The Merge is a change of consensus mechanism, not an expansion of network capacity, and will not result in lower gas fees.”
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