But what exactly is the Merge, and how could it change the future of crypto?
What is the Merge?
Ethereum, which was launched by Canadian computer programmer Vitalik Buterin in 2015, is a blockchain (or a digital ledger) used when cryptocurrency investors buy ether. It’s one of the world’s most used blockchains, second only to the bitcoin network. There are more than 71 million crypto wallets on the ethereum blockchain today, according to the Ethereum Foundation, a group of developers who now oversee the blockchain.
Will the Merge make is safer to use cryptocurrency?
Think of the Merge as the next generation, or 2.0 version, of ethereum. After nearly two years thinking about and testing a new way of conducting transactions, ethereum developers say it’s finally ready for prime time. Put simply, the Merge aims to reduce the number of people and computers it takes to add another data block to the ethereum network.
The change is called the Merge because, as of now, there are several ways to create a new data block. Developers plan to combine those existing methods into a single process they say is both more secure and eco-friendly.
Are there any risks or downsides?
Moving to a proof-of-stake system will likely create haves and have-nots among the validators and everyone else who uses ethereum, said Bryan Daugherty, the global public policy director for BSV Blockchain Association.