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Ethereum Looks Set to Undergo The Merge in August

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(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The possible end to cryptocurrency mining on the latest and greatest GPUs seems to be looming, as Ethereum's long-in-the-making move to Proof of Stake is poised to finally advance this Summer. Speaking at blockchain and Web3 event Permissionless, core Ethereum Developer Preston Van Loon said that code for The Merge is ready for deployment, with final testing currently underway for a tentative main release in August.

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Originally slated to occur in 2019, the Ethereum network's Merge event marks the point at which the blockchain's security and consensus mechanism switches from the current Proof of Work (PoW) model, in which miners use their GPUs to number-crunch transactions in the network, to the less hardware and energy-demanding Proof of Stake (PoS) design. That transition will mark the end of GPU mining on the Ethereum network, whose token value (around $2,000 at time of writing) makes it one of the most profitable coins to mine (by far) without the need for specialized equipment such as Intel's Blockscale ASICs.

The Merge towards PoS should also allow Ethereum to claim higher energy efficiency compared to other PoW-based blockchains (such as Bitcoin) by reducing the overall energy requirements for system security and transaction processing by an estimated 99,95%.

The news comes at a time where the classic high-performance GPU players, AMD and Nvidia, are gearing up for their upcoming next-gen graphics cards (RX 7000 and RTX 40-series cards, respectively). With current expectations on actual hardware launch dates, The Merge occurring in August would hopefully prevent a repeat of escalating GPU prices which hit the best current-gen offerings from AMD and Nvidia, which have only recently achieved a semblance of normalcy.

Intel, the newest player in this discrete GPU field, is still in the process of launching its discrete Arc Alchemist GPUs, which the company already confirmed wouldn't carry a software limitation on cryptocurrency mining. Once again, The Merge happening as planned could impact mining-buoyed demand for these cards, depending on their workload performance.

Additionally, The Merge is expected to cut the issuance of new ETH tokens by about 90%, thus reducing the rate at which new Ethereum tokens enter circulation, introducing higher scarcity and - as market players hope - higher pricing.

All things considered, Ethereum's transition to Proof of Stake should significantly reduce the usage of GPUs in blockchain workloads, thus eliminating most of the additional, forked market demand for new GPUs. This means a possible end to cryptocurrency-specific GPU income for manufacturers AMD and Nvidia, and a potential overflow of second-hand, mining-used GPUs towards the secondary markets, further impacting GPU pricing and availability. There are many moving parts here; let's just hope The Merge stays on course for once.

Francisco Pires is a freelance news writer for Tom's Hardware with a soft side for quantum computing.

  • -Fran-
    All I can say is: "fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me".

    Regards.
    Reply
  • jp7189
    -Fran- said:
    All I can say is: "fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me".

    Regards.
    If you're talking about missed deadlines for the merge, I think we're up to 5 or 6 now.
    Reply
  • GenericUser
    I'm sure it "looked set" all those other times too.
    Reply
  • BX4096
    -Fran- said:
    All I can say is: "fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me".
    There's a better version of this saying:
    KjmjqlOPd6A
    GenericUser said:
    I'm sure it "looked set" all those other times too.
    In their defense, they didn't mention the year...
    Reply
  • evilpaul
    The ETH devs are talking about deploying code that's worked before in tests this time, so it'll probably actually happen this year.

    I can't wait for the QQing about "ASIC miners taking all the CPU wafers" in 2024-2025 when BTC explodes again.
    Reply
  • mavroxur
    evilpaul said:
    The ETH devs are talking about deploying code that's worked before in tests this time, so it'll probably actually happen this year.

    I can't wait for the QQing about "ASIC miners taking all the CPU wafers" in 2024-2025 when BTC explodes again.

    Tell us all that you have no idea how ASIC and CPU fabrication relates to each other without saying that you have no idea how ASIC and CPU fabrication relates to each other.
    Reply