Ethereum “Merge” step was done as a massive overhaul moving the digital machinery at the core of the second-largest cryptocurrency to a vastly more energy-efficient system. Ethereum should now consume 99.9% or so less energy. An important impact is expected on the wider blockchain industry. The transition was a complicated technical and even risky effort. It may have been one of the largest open-source software endeavors in history, requiring coordination across dozens of teams and scores of individual researchers, developers and volunteers. Ethereum’s new system, proof-of-stake, does away with mining entirely as miners are replaced by validators who “stake” at least 32 ETH by sending them to an address on the Ethereum network where they cannot be bought or sold. Staked ETH tokens act like lottery tickets. Having more is better.
“Proof-of-work is a mechanism by which all operators take physical resources and convert them into security for the network. “This is the first step in Ethereum’s big journey towards being a very mature system. There are still steps left to go,” Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin told developers. The Merge represents just one step in a plan sketched out by Ethereum developers to overcome limits on the network’s capacity. There are three or four more steps to come.