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Ethereum’s ‘Merge’ Is a Big Deal for Crypto—and the Planet

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Ethereum’s ‘Merge’ Is a Big Deal for Crypto—and the Planet

Cryptocurrencies are often criticized for being bad for the planet. Every year, bitcoin mining consumes more energy than Belgium, according to the University of Cambridge’s Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index. Ethereum’s consumption is usually pegged at roughly a third of Bitcoin’s, even if estimates vary. Although some 39 percent of the energy going into bitcoin mining comes from renewable sources, according to a 2020 Cambridge report, the industry’s carbon footprint is generally regarded as unacceptable. According to a 2019 study, bitcoin mining belches out between 22 and 22.9 million metric tons of CO2 every year.

The problem is that specialized computers powered by eye-popping amounts of electricity are needed to process and verify transactions of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin or Ethereum’s ether on blockchains, via a process called proof-of-work mining. In this system, thousands of computers all over the world (but mostly in the US, China, Kazakhstan, and Russia) vie with each other to solve a mathematical puzzle and earn the privilege of appending a batch of transactions, or “block,” to the ledger. The miner who prevails wins a crypto reward.

Most Bitcoin advocates will tell you that proof-of-work mining is essential to keep the network secure, and would never dream of tampering with something first conceived by the currency’s pseudonymous creator, Satoshi Nakamoto. But Ethereum is on the verge of a monumental change that will substantially reduce its environmental impact.

Ethereum, launched in 2015 by a 21-year-old whiz kid named Vitalik Buterin, is about to swap proof-of-work mining for an alternative system known as proof of stake, which does not require energy-guzzling computers. The Ethereum Foundation, a research nonprofit that spearheads updates and ameliorations to the Ethereum blockchain, says the shift will reduce the network’s energy consumption by 99.5 percent. The big switcheroo is known as the Merge—and it is slated to take place on September 14. 

What Is the Merge?

The Merge hinges on the fusion of Ethereum’s current proof-of-work blockchain with the Beacon Chain, a proof-of-stake blockchain that was launched in December 2020 but so far has not processed any transactions.

A couple of upgrades, scheduled to launch over the next few weeks, will lay the groundwork for a segue from one chain to the other. Justin Drake, a researcher at the Ethereum Foundation, says the way the process has been structured can be compared to a car switching from an internal combustion engine to an electric one. “How do we do that? Step one: We install an electric engine in parallel to the gasoline engine. And then—step two—we connect the wheels to the electric engine and turn off the gasoline engine. That’s exactly what’s going to be happening at the Merge,” Drake says. “We’ve had this parallel engine of the Beacon Chain for a year and a half—and now the old ‘gasoline’ proof-of-work engine is going to be shut off.”

After years of delays, the Ethereum community is positive that the long-awaited shift will finally happen, following a successful dry run carried out on a test blockchain, called the Goerli chain, on August 10. The fact that Buterin has a book titled Proof of Stake coming out in September is probably a coincidence.

How Will Ethereum’s Proof of Stake Work?

Talking about proof of stake is a bit like talking about French cheese: There are myriad varieties—with hundreds of cryptocurrencies claiming to use some version of the process. At its most basic, however, proof of stake is predicated on the idea of securing a network through incentives rather than hardware.

In this scenario, you don’t need an expensive mining computer to partake in the network: You can use your laptop to put down a “stake”—a certain amount of cryptocurrency locked in the network. That gives you the chance of being selected, usually via a random process, to validate a certain block and earn crypto rewards and fees. If you try to game the system, for instance by doctoring a block, the network will punish you and destroy, or “slash,” some or all of your stake.

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Indian Crypto Exchange WazirX Lays Off 40% Of Its Staff Citing The Ongoing Crypto Winter: Report 

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Indian Crypto Exchange WazirX Lays Off 40% Of Its Staff Citing The Ongoing Crypto Winter: Report 
  • Indian cryptocurrency exchange WazirX has reportedly laid off 40% of its staff, Coindesk report adds
  • In a statement shared with the crypto news outlet, the exchange cites the prolonged crypto winter as its reason for slashing its workforce by 40%. 

Per a Coindesk report, Indian cryptocurrency exchange WazirX has slashed its workforce by 40%, citing the ongoing crypto market phase. 

WazirX Cuts 40% of Its Workforce

In a statement shared with Coindesk, WazirX, one of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges in India, has decided to lay off 40% of its staff, citing extreme crypto winter conditions. The company has reportedly laid off 50–70 people, three people familiar with the matter told Coindesk.

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The statement later adds that these employees will be paid for additional 45 days, and after that, the workers are not expected to attend the company anymore.

WazirX, which is dubbed as one of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges in India, has cited the prolonged crypto winter as its primary reason, leading the firm to slash its workforce by almost 40%.

“The crypto market has been in the grip of a bear market because of the current global economic slowdown. The Indian crypto industry has had its unique problems concerning taxes, regulations, and banking access. This has led to a dramatic fall in volumes on all Indian crypto exchanges. ” The statement reportedly added

The firm further stated that it prioritises consumer protection and its decision to lay off 40% of its staff has been taken to “weather the ongoing crypto winter phase.”

“As India’s No. 1 exchange, our priority is to be financially stable and to continue serving our customers,” the company said. To achieve this, we’ve had to reduce our staff to weather the crypto winter. This situation is similar to the trying times the industry faced in 2018. At that time, we doubled down and built our innovative P2P engine. The crypto industry operates in cycles, and the bear market is inevitably followed by a spectacular bull market. We will continue to focus on our customers’ needs and continue to build. “We are confident that we will come out stronger when the bull market arrives,” the statement later adds

With WazirX slashing its workforce by 40%, the firm has joined the growing league of cryptocurrency exchanges that have recently decided to lay off their employees to stay afloat during the ongoing crypto winter phase. Crypto exchange Coinbase had earlier cut back on its workforce, citing the prolonged crypto winter. Similarly, exchanges like Bybit, Gemini, BitPanda, BlockFi, and Robinhood have also slashed their workforce to sustain the ongoing bearish crypto market phase.

Image: WazirX/Twitter

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Cardano’s Founder Charles Hoskinson Picks On Solana’s Recent Network Outage On Twitter

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Cardano’s Founder Charles Hoskinson Picks On Solana’s Recent Network Outage On Twitter
  • Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson was seen making fun of Solana’s recent network outage.
  • Solana went through another crypto network meltdown today, leading Hoskinson to mock its recent network performance.

The founder of Cardano cryptocurrency, Charles Hoskinson, took to Twitter to share a funny crypto meme that mocked Solana’s recent network outage.

Charles Hoskinson Trolls Solana’s Recent Network Outage

Solana, dubbed as a potential Ethereum killer, experienced another network outage today that ended up disrupting the network’s day-to-day transactional output. The blockchain took to Twitter to announce that its developers are currently examining the potential causes of the outage, leading the crypto community to share an array of opinions on Solana’s frequent network upheavals.

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Charles Hoskinson, the founder of Cardano cryptocurrency, was also noted mocking Solana’s recent network outage. The ADA founder retweeted Solana’s network disruption tweet by sharing a crypto meme, picking on the chain’s constant network meltdowns.

Hoskinson’s tweet was met with a hint of criticism on crypto Twitter. Several users were quick to point out Hoskinson’s habit of making fun of other blockchain platforms. Some of the users also urged the Cardano founder to stop picking on other blockchain platforms when they encounter occasional network issues.

What did you get from mocking other chains?

— Aduck (@nonkatian) October 1, 2022

Charles you often speak about other crypto leaders attacking you on cardano and how we should work together ,so first step is not pick on crypto platforms when they go down as everybody is building stuff like you and others.This is not the right way for leader to behave.

— Manish Shukla (@maanav6427) October 1, 2022

Solana Encounters Another Network Outage Today

Solana experienced another network outage today, resulting in the blockchain’s disrupted transactional volume. The Solana team took to Twitter to announce the network outage issue, adding that the blockchain is temporarily unable to process transactions.

This isn’t the first time Solana has experienced significant network downtime issues. The blockchain has reported multiple network outages throughout 2022, leading investors to question the blockchain’s structure and functionalities.

It’s not a chain… It’s pretty much a centralised ponzi database with such glaring security flaws that you are probably safer to just leave your money in a bank.

— RobinSG (@kaptinspudz) October 1, 2022

However, at press time, the network has resolved its network outage problem and is currently up and running again.

Validator operators successfully completed a cluster restart of Mainnet Beta at 7 AM UTC.

Network operators an dapps will continue to restore client services over the next several hours.

— Solana Status (@SolanaStatus) October 1, 2022

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Uniswap Labs To Raise Venture Capital at $1B Valuation

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Uniswap Labs To Raise Venture Capital at $1B Valuation
  • Uniswap Labs is gearing up to raise over $100 million in a new round of funding as it expands into new products and services.
  • The decentralized exchange commands 64% of all DEX volumes, according to DeFi Llama.
  • Uni’s new funding is indicative of the company’s ambitious plans

Uniswap Labs is gearing up to raise over $100 million in a new round of funding as it expands into new products and services, according to four sources familiar with the matter as reported by TechCrunch, and continues to gain mindshare among traders.

The company is currently seeking investors including Polychain and one of Singapore’s sovereign funds to raise an equity round of $100 million to $200 million at a valuation of about $1 billion.

The deliberations of the round haven’t reached final stages, so terms of the deal may change, sources cautioned.

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Uni’s new funding is indicative of the company’s ambitious plans to expand its offerings. The decentralized exchange commands 64% of all DEX volumes, according to DeFi Llama. And the exchange protocol’s token has a market cap of nearly $5 billion despite the market downturn. (During the peak bull cycle last year, Uni’s market cap exceeded $22.5 billion.)

In recent months, Uniswap Labs has shared plans to add “several new products.” One of the new offerings will allow customers to trade NFTs on Uniswap from a number of marketplaces, Uniswap Labs COO Mary-Catherine Lader told Decrypt.

Lader told TechCrunch in an earlier interview that their mission is “to unlock universal ownership and exchange.” If you can embed the ability to swap value and have people join the community and exchange value with your project, or your company or organization — that’s a powerful way to allow more people to engage in this ownership.

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