14 August 2022
In just over a month’s time, The Merge is likely to be implemented on the Ethereum blockchain and the network’s proof-of-work (PoW) miners will be forced to mine another coin. So far, it seems ethereum miners are sticking with the PoW Ethereum chain until the very end as profits have increased. While Ethereum will change the consensus ruleset, a great number of crypto community members are attempting to guess where the hashrate will go after The Merge transition.
On August 11, 2022, Ethereum developers let the community know during a Consensus Layer Call livestream that The Merge will most likely happen on or around September 15th to the 16th. The following day, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin confirmed that The Merge would likely happen on September 15. “The terminal total difficulty has been set to 58750000000000000000000. This means the ethereum PoW network now has a (roughly) fixed number of hashes left to mine,” Buterin said.
Since then, the question everyone has been asking is where the current Ethereum hashrate will go after the transition takes place. There’s always been a lot of speculation that most of the ETH hashrate will move to Ethereum Classic (ETC), but that’s not everyone’s opinion. Besides the proposed ETHW fork expected to happen, which very well could take a fraction of the ETH hashrate, and there are crypto coin supporters that expect their chain will get added security. We also don’t know how much hashrate the potential proof-of-work Ethereum fork called ETHW will get after The Merge.
One supporter of the crypto asset project ravencoin (RVN) expects the RVN network will get a boost. “If there has ever been a time to own ravencoin, it’s right now,” he said. “Thousands of ethereum miners will be moving to ravencoin due to the end of mining next month for [Ethereum]. The next 2 years is huge for RVN.” So far, however, there’s been no meaningful transitions from the Ethereum network to any Ethash blockchains like RVN and ETC.
There was one significant hashrate drop the ETH network experienced and it started on June 6. Statistics show that on that day, there was 1.23 petahash per second (PH/s) or 1,230 terahash per second (TH/s) dedicated to the ETH chain. The data shows that roughly 230 TH/s has left the network, but none of the Ethash supporting blockchains have seen an accumulation of hash at this magnitude.
The reason being is it is still very profitable to mine ETH, in comparison to mining alternative Ethash supporting chains. Data shows that Bitmain’s Antminer E9 gets an estimated $60.55 per day with electrical costs at $0.12 per kilowatt hour (kWh). Bitmain’s machine is 2,400 megahash per second (MH/s), and Innosilicon’s A11 Pro with 1,500 MH/s can get an estimated $34.53 per day with energy costs at $0.12 per kWh. Presently, a large number of the top ETH mining pools mine the ETC chain as well. Some of ETH’s top miners also contribute hashrate to Ravencoin’s 2.31 TH/s and Ergo’s 11.95 TH/s.
With profits like these and the new Antminer E9 released during the first week of July, it’s more than likely that miners mining ether will stick to the ETH chain up until the very end. While ETH lost 230 TH/s, on July 4, 2022, ETC did see a small spike when 7.12 TH/s was added to the network since that time. JPMorgan’s recent weekly fund flows note, published on Wednesday, explained that The Merge transition could become volatile for ETH miners and ETC may reap the rewards. The investment bank noted that ETC saw a spike in July, and the weekly fund flows note also highlighted alternative crypto assets that use Ethash like ergo and ravencoin.
What do you think about The Merge and how miners will need to make a choice in 32 days when it comes to choosing an Ethash supporting blockchain? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.
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