Excitement surrounding the release of the latest Ethereum (ETH) blockchain software update, Ethereum Merge, seems to be dying down. While Ethereum prices surged about 50 percent in late July when developers revealed September 19, 2022 was the tentative release date for Ethereum Merge, prices have been subdued for the past few days.
On August 3, 2022, as of 8:00 a.m. IST, Ethereum was trading at $1,609.44, down 0.04 percent, according to data from Coinmarketcap.
Although several enthusiasts are now raising questions about the effectiveness of the merge, some believe that the new update may lead to Ethereum, the second largest cryptocurrency by market cap, presenting massive competition to market leader Bitcoin (BTC).
What is the merger?
The current Ethereum mainnet will soon merge with the Beacon Chain proof-of-stake system, according to information on Ethereum’s website. This marks the end of proof-of-work for Ethereum.
“The merger is the most significant upgrade in Ethereum history. Extensive testing and bug bounties have been conducted to ensure a safe transition to proof-of-stake,” the website reads.
Despite the excitement, there are now concerns about the merger in some areas.
“There are many potential risks with ETH Merge,” tweeted Evgeny Gaevoy, CEO of Wintermute. “The fact that people have been working on it for years doesn’t mean it will work perfectly.”
The expected advantage of Ethereum over Bitcoin.
Ethereum has a certain advantage over Bitcoin by default.
Blockchain Edge: The Ethereum blockchain is fundamentally different from the Bitcoin (BTC) blockchain in that Ethereum has enabled the deployment of smart contracts and decentralized applications (dApps) that can be built and run without fraud, control or third-party interference.
The most important difference is the block time. The ETH blockchain can validate a transaction in seconds compared to the minutes it takes the Bitcoin blockchain.
Currently, both blockchains use the Proof-of-Work system to create a block and validate a transaction, but soon (possibly from September 19, 2022) the Ethereum mainnet will be using Beacon’s Proof-of-Stake system Merge Chain. The Beacon chain was created on December 1st, 2020. In this blockchain, Proof-of-Stake validators take all responsibility for processing the validity of transactions and proposing new blocks.
Environmental Impact Edge: The merger is expected to reduce Ethereum’s energy consumption by around 95.95 percent. This will also brand ETH as an eco-friendly blockchain. Currently, one ETH transaction produces 105.98 kg of CO2, and Ethereum’s annual carbon footprint is 47.43 Mt CO2 according to Digiconomist (https://digiconomist.net/ethereum-energy-consumption).
Offer edge: At the end of the BTC roadmap, there will be no more Bitcoin to mine. Currently, 19 million BTCs have been mined and only two million remain, meaning Bitcoin could become a rare commodity in the future. On the other hand, there is no limit to how many ETHs can be mined over time. Recently, Vitallik pointed out that “Ethereum will eventually be able to process 100,000 transactions per second.”
Will ETH Overtake Bitcoin?
This has been on the minds of almost every crypto enthusiast ever since news of the merger broke. Now, according to some industry experts, it could well happen, at least in the medium term.
Vikram Subburaj, CEO, Giottus Crypto Platform, says: “There is a strong possibility that Ethereum (ETH) will become the largest cryptocurrency in the medium term, with the merger being a key catalyst. The ecosystem must fulfill other roadmap promises to continue its ascent.”
He adds: “ETH has shown relative strength against Bitcoin (BTC) over the past 2-3 weeks, raising hopes of an imminent ‘flip’ among ETH maximalists. Coined in 2017, the term “flip” points to the likely moment when ETH’s market cap surges above BTC, making it the largest cryptocurrency. It is notable that the ETH/BTC ratio needs to surpass 0.15 for a flip to occur (~120 percent growth from today’s price). With BTC tending to outperform ETH towards the end of the year, we expect BTC to regain strength by the fourth quarter of 2022. Using a sports analogy, ETH and BTC are like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. Both have their own fan bases and such a rivalry is good for the crypto ecosystem overall.”