Skip to main content

Ethereum Miners Can Keep Ruining PC Gamers' Days as 'The Merge' Gets Delayed

Stock Ethereum image
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Nothing is more dangerous than hope. For example: It's easier to accept that cryptocurrency miners will continue to hoard graphics cards if you assume that's the new status quo. But if you let yourself think something like Ethereum's transition to a proof-of-stake model is a sign that GPU supplies will improve soon, well, any delays to that transition are going to sting that much more.

All of which is to say that Ethereum is no longer set to complete "The Merge," which will finalize the cryptocurrency's transition away from a proof-of-work model, by the end of the year. PCGamer reported that The Merge is now expected to happen sometime in the first half of 2022, so Ethereum miners will have at least a few more months to make as much money as they can before they're rendered obsolete.

This has become something of a trend with Ethereum. The cryptocurrency's "London" hard fork was supposed to reduce the profitability of mining—and the control miners have over the network—when it was introduced in August. (That hard fork also started a controlled burn of ETH that has intentionally destroyed approximately $2 billion worth of the cryptocurrency at time of writing.)

Ethereum's hash rate has risen in the months following the London hard fork, however, thanks in no small part to the increasing popularity of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). That means Ethereum miners are contributing more computing power to the network than ever before, and minting NFTs has allowed them to keep their revenues up while they do so. So London, for hopeful PC gamers, was a letdown.

The Merge is supposed to change that. Ethereum.org explained that a proof-of-work model relies on miners as "the mechanism that allows the decentralized Ethereum network to come to consensus, or agree on things like account balances and the order of transactions," and a proof-of-stake model instead relies upon people who own ETH. Then miners would bid adieu to their responsibilities—and their profits.

Ethereum is still expected to switch to a proof-of-stake model; the timeline for that shift has merely been pushed back. Presumably. At this point, it seems like it would be cruel to give people who've been competing with Ethereum miners over graphics cards even a little bit of hope that some light is waiting for them at the end of the tunnel. Perhaps a bit of schadenfreude would be more appropriate.

  • LolaGT
    Whoever thinks proof-of-stake is going to eliminate proof-of-work mining overnight(when it does come) has been misinformed.
    PoW will still be a thing a couple years from now, regardless of what happens with Ethereum
    Reply
  • digitalgriffin
    LolaGT said:
    Whoever thinks proof-of-stake is going to eliminate proof-of-work mining overnight(when it does come) has been misinformed.
    PoW will still be a thing a couple years from now, regardless of what happens with Ethereum

    The mining difficulty bomb will kill profitability. It's a two prong attack to the problem.
    Reply
  • Milla006
    Miners will keep buying GPUs as it will still be very profitable for other algorithms. We have no real knowledge on its impact if any.
    Reply
  • gargoylenest
    funny coincidence how they seems to wait that Intel release their GPU before changing...
    Reply
  • Im__A__Blimp
    Good. Keep delaying Proof Of Stake. The short form for Proof of Stake is PoS. This is not a coincidence. I don't know why people keep saying there is a GPU shortage. I know a place that's got thousands in stock. You've probably never heard of it. It's called eBay. Go buy a GPU. Do it now. Give'er ! I think the GPU market right now is great. It keeps network difficulty from going too high and profits are really good. Keep the trend going ! Sleep soundly tonight knowing that once eth goes PoS, there will be plenty of other coins to mine. Don't you worry your pretty little head about that. All is well in the GPU world today :)
    Reply
  • Arkz
    I love how the shortage is always blamed on miners and not a massive semiconductor shortage. I suppose the massive PS5 shortage is also cause of miners?

    I'd be surprised if miners were more than 10% of the problem. Stock alert groups on discord helped me get my GPU for RRP back in April. I think a big part of it is scalpers. Using bots to buy the cards just like with PS5's. Then sticking them straight on ebay and the like with inflated prices.
    Reply
  • JarredWaltonGPU
    gargoylenest said:
    funny coincidence how they seems to wait that Intel release their GPU before changing...
    It's precisely that: a coincidence. And it's not funny that I can tell. The proof of stake transition for Ethereum has been pushed back many times already. Because Ethereum operates on a consensus voting for what to implement in terms of major changes, and the miners hold a LOT of sway, they keep saying the developers should delay the PoS switch. The only reason this coincides with the Intel Arc launch date is because they both happen to land in early 2022 now. Well, except Arc will come out first.

    For reference, here are some of the times Ethereum 2.0 with PoS was supposed to go live:

    January 2020? Ha. Hahahahahaaaa.
    December 1, 2020? Didn't happen.
    Multiple dates in 2021 all "slipped."
    Now we're into mid-2022.

    Realistically, if we get Ethereum full PoS by 2023 I'll be relatively surprised at this point. Also note that every major network update is a hard fork. All that needs to happen is for another "Ethereum Classic" to branch off and say it will never have Proof of Stake and will be mining forever, and there's a reasonable chance the miners will make that a more usable cryptocoin than the main Ethereum branch. Which is part of why the PoS switch keeps being delayed — no sense in going somewhere new that more than half of the users oppose.
    Reply
  • TJ Hooker
    There are lots of other GPU-mineable PoW coins out there, but none of them have nearly the number GPUs mining them as Eth. Once Eth goes PoS, their will be a massive amount of hashing power going to all these other coins. Difficulty will jump, and profitability will plummet unless the price of these coins happens to surge at the same time.
    Reply
  • TJ Hooker
    JarredWaltonGPU said:
    For reference, here are some of the times Ethereum 2.0 with PoS was supposed to go live:

    January 2020? Ha. Hahahahahaaaa.
    December 1, 2020? Didn't happen.
    Multiple dates in 2021 all "slipped."
    Now we're into mid-2022.
    I dabbled in eth mining during the big crypto run-up in late 2017/early 2018, and even at that point PoS was coming Soonᵀᴹ
    Reply