August 8, 2022

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Vitalik Buterin isn’t worried about an Ethereum fork (EthPoW) as merge approaches

2 min read

Most members of the Ethereum community are counting down the days until the network’s “merge,” a massive upgrade that promises to improve its efficiency and dramatically reduce its environmental impact. Among those most excited, unsurprisingly, is Ethereum co-creator Vitalik Buterin. 

But while the impending merge has brought excitement in the Ethereum community, it’s also attracted criticism and speculation. 

The merge will shift Ethereum from a proof-of-work consensus model to a proof-of-stake one, and not everyone is happy about that. For example, some are pushing against the merge by advertising for a potential continued “ETH PoW” (“Ethereum proof-of-work”) chain post-upgrade. 

On a call with reporters Friday night, Buterin acknowledged the ETH PoW movement—but he isn’t very concerned.

“I don’t expect Ethereum to really be significantly harmed by another fork,” Buterin said, referring to the contentious hard fork, or blockchain split, of 2016 that resulted in a separate chain known as Ethereum Classic. “My impression from pretty much everyone I talked to in the Ethereum ecosystem is that they’ve been completely supportive of the proof-of-stake effort and united around it.”

Mostly—and unsurprisingly—the interest now in ETH PoW has been driven by Ethereum miners, like prominent Chinese cryptocurrency miner Chandler Guo, because miners have something to lose after Ethereum shifts to proof-of-stake: Their income. 

Currently, with proof-of-work, Ethereum miners validate transactions on the network—and in turn, earn token rewards—by using very expensive equipment and computer power. Some miners have invested tens of thousands of dollars to, well, mine Ether, and make a living. With proof-of-stake, Ethereum will rely on a trusted network of validators—effectively eliminating its mining for good. For that reason, miners might want to try and continue Ethereum’s proof-of-work chain, no matter how…

Taylor Locke

2022-08-06 00:21:06

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