As the Ethereum network hit block 15,537,393, the Ethereum mainnet execution layer and the Beacon Chain’s consensus layer merged. The network no longer relies on the previous proof-of-work (PoW) consensus mechanism.
The native token of the network, Ethereum, initially had a slight jump in price, rising to around $1,650. However, the price took a hit over the last 12 hours and is currently sitting at $1,516.20 when writing this, according to CoinMarketCap.
The Ethereum Foundation has stated that the Merge will make the Ethereum network around 99.95% more energy efficient while setting up future scaling solutions, including sharding.
While the Merge has been a work in progress for many years, its occurrence will not change the experience for the end-user on Ethereum. However, this shift represents a significant step for the network, making it faster and cheaper while increasing its stature and usage.
Vitalik Buterin, one of the co-founders of Ethereum, made a statement during the online Merge viewing party, a public video call where developers watched the Merge in real-time:
“This is the first step in Ethereum’s big journey toward being a very mature system. And there’s steps left to go. We still have to scale, we have to fix privacy. To me, the Merge symbolizes the difference between an early stage Ethereum and the Ethereum we’ve always wanted.”
However, not all favored the model switch, with ETHW Core, a group representing proof-of-work miners, announcing they would conduct a hard fork within 24 hours after the Merge.
The Ethereum Merge marks one of the most significant events in the space’s history, but this is just the start for the network. Next year, Ethereum will go through the Surge and implement sharding, and following that is the Verge, Purge, and Splurge, which will take place over the next few years.