Ethereum’s Merge has been successfully completed, involving a shift from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake. This change has been in the making for a long time and has gone through numerous tests before it finally happened. The event was one of the most anticipated in the crypto world, and everyone was talking about it and its implications. And this isn’t surprising, considering that the shift to a proof of stake doesn’t only bring a change to the blockchain, but the world itself, as the Merge has the potential to reduce global electricity consumption by 0.2%. It’s the first technology in history to lower its energy usage to such a significant extent. But the Merge is only the beginning for Ethereum.
According to Vitalik Buterin, four more upgrades will follow. The changes are meant to make Ethereum a more robust network, boosting its competitiveness. Once the five phases are done, Ethereum will be able to handle 100,000 transactions per second. This is a significant change, considering that the blockchain can now process only 15 to 10 transactions per second.
Ethereum’s Vision: Making the Network More Scalable and Secure While Ensuring Decentralization
Ever since its launch in 2015, the Ethereum protocol has enjoyed massive success. However, it was clear from the beginning that the blockchain needed some upgrades to tap into its full potential. And the shift to Proof-of-Stake was the foundation of this progress. The increasing gas fees represented a primary downside of Ethereum, which is why most users found it considerably expensive. But the blockchain gradually started growing along with the disk space necessary to run clients, leading to even higher costs.
Moreover, the original Proof-of-Work mechanism – which the Merge has changed- had a major environmental impact because of its large energy consumption. Ethereum developers addressed these issues by making upgrades to the blockchain while preserving its decentralization feature. Ultimately, the goal of Ethereum is to ensure security and scalability.
The Merge Was only The First Stage in Ethereum’s Evolution
The Merge’s implications can’t be overlooked, as more users can now participate in the network due to it. And let’s not forget about the eco-friendly feature, which is perhaps one of the most significant advantages. As for Ethereum price, no one can tell precisely how the Merge will influence it; however, there’s positivity regarding the opportunities it could bring to those seeking to buy Ethereum in the future. But the implications of the Merge can’t compare to what the Ethereum blockchain could bring into the crypto world once all the upgrades are completed over the following years.
The Merge was exciting; however, it was only the first stage in Ethereum’s protocol progress. Only after the completion of the last phase could Ethereum be considered an effective proof-of-stake protocol.
The Shanghai upgrade is the next awaited stage in Ethereum’s network upgrade. This update will enable validators to withdraw some of their staked ETH and rewards. Moreover, Shanghai will also aim at reducing transaction costs on L2, a separate blockchain helping Ethereum to scale, by lowering data costs on the leading blockchain itself.
The Next Area of Focus Is Solving Scalability Problems
One of the Merge’s goals was to decrease Ethereum’s energy consumption, and it successfully achieved it. The next considerable upgrade is the Surge, which is meant to add a feature called sharding to the network. Sharding represents a horizontal scaling technique involving splitting a blockchain into different pieces, called shards, and then storing them in various places. The purpose is to enhance the network’s scalability and enable it to process multiple transactions per second.
The Surge is a decentralized option that extends a database, eliminating the need for validators to store the network’s data, which cannot be achieved without powerful hardware. The Surge could also enable average users to run an ETH node on their mobile device or computer, resulting in a more robust network.
Introducing Verkle Trees Through the Verge
The Verge aims at reducing Ethereum’s reliance on nodes by introducing verkle trees – an upgrade to Merkle proofs, allowing for proofs of smaller size. This upgrade is meant to optimize storage and decrease node size. This will help make Ethereum more scalable and faster, as users will be able to become validators without storing significant amounts of data on their PC. As Buterin said, the Verge will represent an excellent improvement regarding decentralization.
The Purge Will Follow, Eliminating Excess Historical Data
The Purge is another critical upgrade in Ethereum’s protocol, meant to reduce the space needed to store Ether on a hard drive. The point is to simplify Ethereum’s protocol and store history without requiring nodes. Nodes are used to verify miners’ work and ensure they follow the consensus rules, and the best way to do this is to keep a copy of the Ethereum ledger.
Not all nodes need to store the historical blocks permanently. Rather than that, the Purge will put the storage of old historical data to an end. This translates into decreased hardware requirements for nodes and reduced network bandwidth.
Leaving’ the Fun Stuff’ at The End
The Splurge is the final upgrade of the Ethereum protocol, carrying miscellaneous yet significant extras meant to ensure that the network runs smoothly after the previous four upgrades. According to Vitalik, this is the ‘fun stuff’ that simplifies Ethereum’s use and makes it more accessible to average users.
The Future of Ethereum Seems Promising
On September 15th, 2022, Ethereum made history through the Merge, which had profound implications within the ecosystem and brought a significant change to the crypto world through its sustainable approach. As Ethereum’s co-founder has announced four more upgrades, we can only look forward to what these changes will bring to the ecosystem.
While we’ll probably have to wait some time until we see these changes, it’s definitely worth it, considering their potential to improve Ethereum even further and turn it into an even more reliable network that will likely attract more investors in the years to come. While the future of Ethereum looks promising, it’s still important to approach the crypto world with caution because it’s still a volatile area that involves certain risks.