In the last week alone, the price of Ethereum has risen by over 29%, and in the last month has gone up more than 48% (opens in new tab) from its low $994 on June 20 this year. For everyone super-excited about the collapse of cryptocurrencies, specifically those that have held modern graphics cards hostage for the past two years, that's got to be a concern.
But actually it's possibly not worth getting too worried about the supposed thawing of this crypto winter. There's a good chance that the price of ethereum has been rising to such an extent precisely because it will soon not need those GPUs to function as a digital currency. And by soon we're talking about potentially September 19, 2022.
Even though the price has been spiking recently, the number of miners punishing their graphics cards with the ETH algorithm hasn't gone up at the same level. in fact the global ethereum hash rate (opens in new tab) has effectively stabalised post crash. So yeah, they're still listing their cards on ebay. Or their local equivalent.
The Ethereum Foundation has gone public with an actual proposed date for the ethereum network to turn off the graphics card mines. This is the point where it will switch to a proof of stake (PoS) consensus model as opposed to the current proof of work (PoW) model which demands the use of GPUs to secure the blockchain. This is the same energy-sapping mechanism that bitcoin needs to function, and together the two cryptocurrencies are responsible for carbon emissions of more than 150MT/yr.
Or, the same carbon emissions as a modern, medium-sized country.
The Merge's date was proposed on a consensus developers call, where Ethereum Foundation's Tim Beiko put forward a planning timeline which culminates in a final merge on September 19 after the testing networks have been thoroughly tested and signed off.
It's been a long time coming, and despite there now being a specific date, that could still all change. "Please treat this target with appropriate caution," says Ben Edgington in his 'What's new in Eth2' post (opens in new tab) about the new timeline.
What is the suggested timeline for Ethereum's PoS merge?
- Goerli/Prater client releases 27th or 28th of July.
- Announce 28th/29th.
- Prater Bellatrix on the 8th of August
- Goerli Merge on the 11th.
- ACD 18th August plan mainnet Merge:
- Bellatrix early september;
- Merge two weeks later (week of Sept 19th).
The PoS consensus requires validators, not miners. With each validator staking 32 Eth with the ethereum network for the chance to write blocks of transactions to the blockchain, with rewards for issuing each block.
This shift will cut the energy demands and carbon emissions by 99.95%, according to the Ethereum Foundation (opens in new tab), which will immediately negate at least some of the criticism people have about the second largest cryptocurrency. I mean, the merge will effectively remove the biggest issues us PC gamers have with ethereum given that any further price increases won't encourage more mining and we can still expect future GPU releases to go into the hands of gamers.
Well, so long as ethereum classic doesn't keep rising, that is. That's a cryptocurrency based on the old-school ethereum model and is therefore all about hoarding GPUs and expending offensive levels of energy for an intangible reward.
Like ethereum, ethereum classic has seen its own price rise, growing by 66% in the last month and 51% in the past week alone (opens in new tab). They're all still linked to the health of bitcoin as the market leader, and despite the recent price crash it has rallied by nearly 15% (opens in new tab) in the last month.
So, maybe the whole crypto winter is over, or maybe we're just waiting for an even bigger crypto crash. As ever with cryptocurrencies, who knows? It's all gambling on snake oil after all.