The Ethereum Merge and What’s Next for the Blockchain
Users everywhere have been waiting on the edge of their seats for the Ethereum merge, which has been in progress for years now. But the merge isn’t the only upgrade coming to the blockchain, and the creator of the platform, Vitalik Buterin, recently took to the stage to explain more about what people can expect from Ethereum in the future.
Read on to learn more about the Ethereum upgrades and the future Buterin has in mind for this amazing blockchain.
Step 1: The Merge
So what’s first for the blockchain? Well, the merge, of course! The merge is an upgrade coming to the Ethereum blockchain that will combine the current Ethereum mainnet with the proof of stake beacon, effectively and officially transforming the blockchain to a proof of stake consensus method.
This is being done to both speeds up the blockchain as well as lower its impact on the environment. It’s been a controversial upgrade, mainly because Ethereum miners are officially out of work, but overall, users everywhere are excited about the merge.
Step 2: The Surge
Once Ethereum is able to process requests faster and in a more environmentally friendly manner, next comes the surge, which is Buterin’s name for the period of time where Ethereum will grow and scale into a larger blockchain.
It will do this via a sharding process that will enable other companies to easily build cheap layer-2 blockchains on top of Ethereum, thus leading users to bundle more transactions. This will lower the pressure the blockchain is currently facing to process transactions faster as well, making it a larger player in the blockchain world. By the end of the sharding process, Ethereum will go from processing 15–20 transactions per second to over 100,000.
Part of the process of the surge is encouraging more and more people to stake Ethereum. Staking Ethereum is where you use the computing power of your computer to process transactions. It’s easy to set up, and almost anyone can do it…as long as you have 32 ETH to use to back transactions, that is. Once there are stakers set up all over the world, not only will Ethereum surge to new heights, but also new levels of decentralization.
Step 3: The Verge
After the surge comes the verge, which is when Ethereum will process transactions using a new mathematical proof known as Verkle trees. These Verkle tress will simplify the Ethereum, allowing more people to operate nodes because the software will take up less room on a hard drive.
Currently, every Ethereum node must store a universal ledger, which is basically a record of every transaction ever. While this is great for solving the double-spend issue found in non-government-sponsored money, it takes up a lot of space on a hard drive.
With the Verkle trees, the proof of stake consensus method will verify transactions without needing the staker to have the entire ledger on their computer. This will make it more accessible for anyone to stake Ethereum, not just those who have access to large amounts of hard drive space or computing power.
Step 4: The Purge
Once the verge step is complete, then comes the purge. During this step, Buterin states that old data on the Ethereum network will be purged mathematically to help prevent a huge ledger from building up.
Additionally, the purge will help upgrade the Ethereum data storage system to help clear out system traffic and make it an easier-to-use platform overall.
Step 5: The Splurge
The last stage for the Ethereum upgrade is the part referred to as the splurge by Buterin. While this part of the upgrade doesn’t yet have specifics as to how and when they will happen, Buterin refers to them as small upgrades and fine-tuning to the Ethereum system to keep it running well.
This will prevent Ethereum from becoming outdated, something that many Bitcoin enthusiasts are worried about. Either way, Buterin says Ethereum is currently only 40% complete, and even when the Splurge is over, he doesn’t believe the blockchain will ever truly be complete. Mainly because Ethereum is technology, and Buterin believes that technology needs to grow with society, and it is this attitude that will keep Ethereum around for years to come.
What Does This Mean for Ethereum?
This discussion by Buterin is important for the future of Ethereum. It shows users that there is a creator that is committed to making a better product and that he won’t stop once the merge is concluded.
While Bitcoin is great, Ethereum is becoming more and more likely to pass the original cryptocurrency with each passing year. Bitcoin no longer has its creator to guide it through changes like what is happening to Ethereum currently. Not to mention that the ledger for Bitcoin is only getting longer and only slowing the blockchain down more (it is still being upgraded, though, see below).
Now, this doesn’t mean you should push Bitcoin out of your mind forever, as it is still a good store of value, it just means that you should start looking to other investments like Ethereum. In fact, if you would like to get involved with staking Ethereum, now is likely as good of a time as any as this year, 2022, is really just the beginning for Ethereum. There is much to come from this blockchain, and while we can’t see the future, we are hopeful that it will be good!
Back to Bitcoin quickly before we wrap this one up, it is worth noting that Bitcoin is being updated (See Schnorr/Taproot Update), however, the process is slow and not very streamlined because of the total decentralization of Bitcoin. Ethereum is different in this aspect. But as far as use and investment purposes, we believe Bitcoin and Ethereum are both parts of the future of cryptocurrency, which is why we write about them so often on this blog!
In conclusion, Ethereum is going great places with its merge, surge, verge, purge, and splurge, so if you aren’t involved in Ethereum yet, consider getting involved today!