Since The Merge, most of the old ether miners have been looking for new blockchains to continue their business.
It may seem surprising to the uninitiated, but despite the successful transition of the Ethereum blockchain known as The Merge, some ether investors will be able to stay on the old so-called “proof of work” protocol, abandoned on Thursday by the official blockchain.
The latter will have to take the route of a hard fork (see our full article on this topic), a process that consists of dividing the blockchain into two separate blockchains, with a new blockchain and one using the old blockchain protocol. In the history of blockchains, some forks are better known than others. This is the case, for example, of Bitcoin Cash on the Bitcoin blockchain, which took place in 2017. The Ethereum blockchain also underwent a hard fork in 2016, giving life to Ethereum Classic.
Let’s go back to the Merge this Thursday. We recall that the passage of the blockchain consisted in the passage from an operating mode called “proof of work” (or PoW for “proof of work”) to “proof of stake” (or PoS for “proof of stake”). A transition that implies that “miners” are replaced by “validators”.
But the miners did not say their last word. In fact, some are already turning to tokens using “proof of work”, such as Ethereum Classic. We have also seen the emergence of a new hard fork called EthereumPOW (ETHW), although this token remains speculative only and is not yet circulating on an official blockchain. However, the project managed to gain support from cryptocurrency exchanges, such as Poloniex and BitMEX.
Former miners have no real choice but to turn to alternative blockchains: already because many market participants have invested in expensive mining systems, such as servers and graphics cards, and because it is out of the question for them to join the new protocol. Up until a certain point, it was also more profitable to mine ether than bitcoin.
A fragile system
But this will only take time, as as the new proof of stake protocol is implemented, we will no longer be able to accept ether made with the old process.
“The problem with copying the original Ethereum chain is that ETHW now includes the difficulty bomb (a mechanism that will greatly complicate the calculations required to extract the ether from a certain date, ed) that would make GPU mining (graphics card, ed) useless at some point in 2023 “, underlines a Notebook Check article.
This will only serve to use the old equipment as much as possible to make it at least profitable and not lose too much. This can also create technical arbitrage for those who will trade the old method ethers and the new method ethers. A technical phase in which the two systems will still coexist for at least a few months.