The Merge: Live coverage of Ethereum's major upgrade

Quick Takes

  • The Merge has officially been activated.
  • Following The Merge, the Ethereum supply has started decreasing, the Ethereum Classic hash rate has shot up — and someone paid $57,600 to mint an NFT.
  • The Block’s live coverage of The Merge has now ended.
 
 
 

More on The Merge

See all Merge-related content here.

Latest news 


The Block's live coverage has now ended

Update 11:00 UTC, Sept. 15

This brings The Block's live coverage of The Merge to a close, a little over 24 hours after starting. 


Anthony Sassano: A truly glorious day for every single Etherean

Update 10:45 UTC, Sept. 15

Twitter was full of praise for all those that worked on the years-long project, with EthHub co-founder Anthony Sassono sharing his thoughts following the upgrade. 

“The Merge was the culmination of countless hours of work from hundreds of people over many years. It's an incredible achievement that it happened so smoothly with no disruption for users on the network. A truly glorious day for every single Etherean,” Sassano said

The Eth Hub co-founder followed this up by later Tweeting that there is more to come following The Merge, and “Ethereans will continue doing what we do best - building towards a brighter future.”


Ethereum Classic team congratulates Ethereum on The Merge

Update 10:30 UTC, Sept. 15

The Ethereum Classic team, the chain Ethereum forked from in 2016, congratulated Buterin and others on the successful upgrade. 

“Thanks, and congrats to Vitalik Buterin et al. May both chains co-exist in their own right providing options for stakers and miners,” the Ethereum Classic Tweeted.

It also noted that proof of work miners can now mine its chain, while stakers can go to Ethereum, calling it a fair decision and a step in the right direction for both chains.


Ethereum’s environmental status bodes well for its future, says ConsenSys

Update 10:00 UTC, Sept. 15

Ethereum co-founder and founder of ConsenSy Joseph Lubin, shared a report commissioned by his firm which he says substantiates The Merge’s environmental impact. 

“Having removed the high carbon footprint as one of the biggest barriers to future growth, Ethereum is now primed for further waves of interest, development, adoption, and investment, as The Merge enables Ethereum to become internet scale IT infrastructure for low carbon projects around the globe,” Lubin said in a release. 

Lubin also noted that this upgrade was possibly the biggest decarbonization effort of any industry in history.


A validator gets slashed

Updated: 07:52 UTC, Sept. 15

A validator run by Allnodes has been slashed following The Merge due to "attestation violation." An attestation is where a validator checks transactions to ensure they are within the rules. The validator made multiple double attestations, leading to its slashing.

The validator has been put in a queue to leave. Its stake of 32 ETH has been slashed by 1 ETH ($1,600) so far and it will continue to lose small amounts each epoch — up to a maximum of 32 ETH — until it leaves the network.

Allnodes said it is looking into the matter.


Ethereum supply has started shrinking

Updated: 07:26 UTC, Sept. 15

Following The Merge, the supply of Ethereum has started decreasing. This is due to transaction fees being burned at a greater rate than the new supply of ETH is being issued. This is due to current high network activity and will only last as long as the activity continues to remain high. If activity returns to pre-merge levels, the network will likely have a low inflation rate of around 0.1%.

According to EthHub co-founder Eric Conner, the supply peaked at 120,521,140 and is currently heading south. Since The Merge, the supply has decreased by more than 150 ether ($240,000).


Ethereum Classic hash rate surges

Updated: 07:20 UTC, Sept. 15

Since The Merge, a lot of hash rate has flown to Ethereum Classic — as miners are no longer able to mine Ethereum. The Ethereum Classic hash rate has shot up to 99.91 TH/s. This is twice as high as the hash rate has been typically so far this month. It also may continue to increase as more miners switch chains.

Read our feature on what happens to Ethereum miners after The Merge here.


The first proof-of-stake Ethereum NFT

Updated: 07:17 UTC, Sept. 15

Following the activation of The Merge, someone paid 36 ETH ($57,600) in transaction fees to mint an NFT. The NFT shows a panda and some details of the state of the blockchain at the time it was created. It appears to be the first of 100 such NFTs.


Live reactions to The Merge

Updated: 07:07 UTC, Sept. 15

"A historic day [in] crypto. A historic day for the internet," said Bankless co-founder Ryan Sean Adams.

"Congrats on this, seriously," said both EthHub co-founder Anthony Sassano and Tron founder Justin Sun — in reference to Buterin's comment about Bitcoin Cash in 2017.

"The Merge is one of the most important moments in the history of open source, and a huge step forward for crypto and web3," said Ali Yahya, general partner at a16z crypto.

"Merge successful. POS activated. We are all still here," said Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao.


The first epoch has now been finalized

Updated: 06:59 UTC, Sept. 15

The first epoch has been finalized and the transition to proof of stake is now complete.

"And we finalized! Happy merge all. This is a big moment for the Ethereum ecosystem. Everyone who helped make the merge happen should feel very proud today," said Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin on Twitter.


A few validators have dropped off

Updated: 06:56 UTC, Sept. 15

According to the Ethereum Foundation call, around 4% of validators have dropped from the network following the activation of The Merge. This is not enough to particularly affect the network and is lower than some estimates prior to The Merge. These validators may need to fix some configuration issues and then should be able to return to the network.

One more slot to go until the first epoch is finalized.


Ether price remains largely unchanged

Updated: 06.54 UTC, Sept. 15

Following the activation of The Merge, the price of ether hasn't moved significantly in either direction. The price of ETH remains around the $1,600 mark.


The epoch has enough votes

Updated: 06:53 UTC, Sept. 15

A small update from the Ethereum Foundation call: So far attestations are going well for the epoch. By slot 23, there have been enough votes to justify the epoch. This means that, if all goes well, it should be finalized. This will happen in about six minutes.


The Merge has been activated

Updated: 06:44 UTC, Sept. 15

The total terminal difficulty has been triggered and The Merge has been activated. Transactions are now being processed on proof of stake.

The first slot has not yet been finalized. This will happen over the next 12 minutes.

"All looking good, we're waiting for epoch 146876 to finalize to call it complete," said Tim Beiko, protocol support at the Ethereum Foundation.


Only 100 blocks to go

Updated: 06:25 UTC, Sept. 15

While the exact timing for The Merge keeps pushing back, the number of blocks on the proof of work chain continues to count down. There are now only 100 blocks left until The Merge.

That puts it around 20 minutes away at 06:45 UTC.


Ledger Live pauses Ethereum services to make sure network is “stable and safe”

Updated: 6:06 am UTC, Sept. 15

With less than an hour to go on Merge countdown clocks, hardware firm Ledger has paused all Ethereum-linked services offered through its crypto app.

The Ledger Live app allows users to buy, sell and manage a range of crypto assets, including NFTs, on mobile devices.

Ledger tweeted that it has temporarily paused Ethereum services to “make sure the network is stable and safe,” promising to resume those services after a round of checks.

The Paris-based firm had earlier assured customers in a blog post that ether, NFTs and other tokens could be safely left in Ledger accounts during The Merge.


We’re still waiting…

As of 6 a.m. UTC we’re still waiting for The Merge.

The long-anticipated upgrade to the Ethereum network was initially estimated to have completed by now. Forecasts yesterday were for The Merge to be done and dusted by about 5 a.m. UTC.

But the hash rate on the network — a measure of its computing power — has been dropping the closer we get, meaning each block takes longer to process.

The folks on the Ethereum Mainnet Merge Viewing Party on YouTube gave up waiting just before 5 a.m. UTC, saying they would be back after a short break. They returned at 5:48 a.m.

The latest estimate from bordel.wtf reckons The Merge will happen around 6:45 a.m., based on current hash rate. UTC. But if hash rate slips further, so could that timing.


Nexo, others shift hundreds of millions of dollars in ETH into exchanges 

Update: 5:36 am UTC, Sept. 15

Analytics startup Nansen reported a massive spike in ether flowing into crypto exchanges as Ethereum’s Merge looms.   

Crypto lender Nexo shifted 450,000 ether ($720 million) to Binance, while another identified, multi-signature wallet sent 288,442 ($461 million) to Bitfinex, according to a tweet posted by Nansen CEO Alex Svanevik.  

Nansen’s data shows greater volumes of ether inflows into exchanges than has been seen for at least six months.  

It is not clear exactly why Nexo moved the ether when it did. The company was contacted for comment but did not respond by press time.  


Sorare CEO Nicolas Julia: The Merge makes Ethereum 'fit for the long-term future'

Update: 9:40 pm UTC, Sept. 14

Sorare CEO Nicolas Julia spoke of Ethereum's Merge as a historic moment for the blockchain ecosystem.

The Ethereum Merge is one of the most crucial moments in blockchain history to date, promising a much more sustainable future for the whole of the ecosystem,” said Julia, going on to express that the web3 sports fantasy game developer made the shift to a carbon-efficient Layer 2 network to reduce its own emissions footprint.

Welcoming The Merge, Julia called it “a positive step towards making Ethereum fit for the long-term future.”


Could potential technical glitches affect The Merge?

Update: 9:35 pm UTC, Sept. 14

Developers have long prepared for potential problems to avoid systemic disruption during The Merge.

Although years in the making, developers still anticipate general bugs and glitches. In an effort to mitigate possible issues, developers are employing a strategy based on “client diversity” to reduce the chances of a complete failure.

What might those issues be? Read The Block’s full coverage by Vishal Chawla here.  


MEP Berger: The Merge will ease energy concerns, drive awareness

Update: 7:40 pm UTC, Sept. 14

Ethereum's shift to proof of stake will ease concerns over Ethereum's energy consumption, according to Stefan Berger. Berger is a member of the European Parliament and lead negotiator for the EU's Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulatory framework. 

"For many critics, high energy consumption is the main argument against crypto assets. Ethereum is now invalidating this criticism and could set new standards,” said Berger, who added that he still believes consumers will make investment decisions on their own.

Citing a surge in search engine requests related to The Merge, Berger said he is "sure the Merge will enhance the awareness and interest in crypto-assets in general."


Hudson Jameson on The Merge: 'A pinnacle of collaboration'

Update: 7:10 pm UTC, Sept. 14

Former Ethereum Foundation Coordinator Hudson Jameson posted a multi-tweet reflection on The Merge, saying the event "represents a pinnacle of collaboration and engineering mastery across dozens of teams and hundreds of people."

Jameson's series of tweets detailed the network’s transition from proof of work to proof of stake. He later highlighted the push for a multi-client ecosystem comprised of numerous teams.

“This is in contrast to nearly every other cryptocurrency out there that would be in big trouble if a chain stopping exploit was found in their single client,” he wrote.

Read The Block’s recent interview with Hudson Jameson here.


Ethereum maintains hash rate in Merge lead-up — a surprise to some

Update: 5:45 pm UTC, Sept. 14

Ethereum Co-founder Vitalik Buterin expressed surprise about the resiliency of the network's hash rate as The Merge grows near. 

“I'm a bit surprised! I argued against a 50% drop but definitely expected like 5-10%,” Buterin wrote.

“Can we please keep it stable like 15 more hours,” tweeted ETH Core Developer Tim Beiko in response.

According to The Block's Data Dashboard, Ethereum's hash rate – a metric that reflects the scale of mining power active at a given time — has been relatively steady for the past two months.


Breaking down the current state of staking on Ethereum

Update: 4:30 pm UTC, Sept. 14

Dragonfly Capital data scientist known as hildobby broke down some key details related to the current state of Ethereum staking. In a tweet thread, they highlighted that 13.7 million ETH is currently staked — 11.4% of ether’s circulating supply.

Hildobby noted that 33.4% of staked ETH is via liquid staking services, 30.8% through centralized exchanges, 22.2% is associated with large whales, 9.4% through staking pools and the rest unknown.

Diving in more deeply:

  • Lido Finance has a 90% market share of liquid staked ETH.
  • Coinbase, Kraken and Binance look after 95% of ETH staked with centralized exchanges.
  • Four staking pools take up 93% of ETH staked with staking pools.

Switch to proof of stake promises to change the way users interact with the blockchain

Update: 3:30 pm UTC, Sept. 14

Brian Fu, co-Founder at zkLend, a StarkWare-based money market, told The Block the highly anticipated upgrade will change the way users interact with the blockchain, but the debate over consensus mechanisms is overstated.

“However, much like the immediate impacts of the Merge have been overstated, so has the debate around PoW vs. PoS as the superior consensus mechanism,” he said. 

Fu said the ETHPoW fork has substantiated the debate, particularly dissatisfied miners who have based their business models on investing in mining equipment. That being said, the Ethereum Foundation has been clear in laying out their roadmap for an Ethereum that is more scalable, more sustainable, and more secure, he concluded.


Just over 3,000 blocks to go to The Merge

Update: 3:15 pm UTC, Sept. 14

With a little over 3,000 blocks to go until The Merge, it is expected to take place around 05:05 UTC on Sept. 15.

Here’s a few good resources for tracking what will happen:

  • Bordel.wtf lets users track the Terminal Total Difficulty to see when the upgrade will happen.
  • When The Merge takes place, there will be a Merge viewing party run by the Ethereum Foundation.
  • Beaconcha.in shows the latest data on the proof-of-stake chain as well as the number of validators and the amount of staked ether, which is currently over 13.66 million ETH.

Master validator at Lido Finance looks at what could go wrong ahead of The Merge

Update: 2:40 pm UTC, Sept. 14 

Isidoros Passadis, master of validators at Lido Finance, spoke to The Block about the three types of risks associated with The Merge.

“The first is the technical risk. With any software upgrade, we have to anticipate possible bugs, technical glitches, or general hiccups,” he said. 
Passadis noted that a lot of comfort has been built up from putting client software packages through their paces via testnet merges and checking the software on active testnets.
“The second risk class has to do with the proper operation of nodes during and following the Merge,” he noted. But he added, “The Beacon chain has undergone three testnet Merges, numerous shadow forks and there are multiple client teams working alongside each other to implement the code successfully.”

The third risk Passadis noted was EthereumPoW and its planned fork, which might cause “a bit of chaos” leading up to The Merge, but he said its impact shouldn’t last too long.


After The Merge comes The Purge and then The Surge

Update: 2:30 pm UTC, Sept. 14

Rhino.fi founder Will Harborne spoke to The Block about scaling upgrades on Ethereum after The Merge.

“The two next stages have been nicknamed as ‘The Purge’ and ‘The Surge’. The purge will involve fixing and improving many areas of Ethereum’s technical debt to allow it to scale better, in particular state bloat,” he said, referring to the fact that Ethereum’s memory usage has grown too large.
“The surge will be focused on making Ethereum faster and cheaper, using sharding, but also adapting it to better accommodate rollups,” he said. 

Harbourne said these future changes will be much more impactful, but The Merge needs to be done before they can be addressed.


The Merge won’t fix everything says Bitfinex CTO Paolo Ardoino

Update: 1:45 pm UTC, Sept. 14 

Paolo Ardoino told The Block that The Merge won’t fix everything — earmarking transaction fees and how decentralized Ethereum is.

“The Merge has put a huge focus on Ethereum, but what will we be left with? We will still need L2s, there will still be times of network stress, and the congestion, and high gas fees, which have yet to solve themselves will likely still exist,” he said.

Ardonino said it's not what The Merge will change, but asked what asset exists that provides the core themes of our industry, which includes true decentralization. He concluded that bitcoin is the only asset out there with a solid narrative, “one that hasn’t changed.”

Ethereum doesn’t match bitcoin because of its shifting narrative, the CTO added. 


A successful Merge will add huge credibility to the world of digital assets 

Update: 1:40 pm UTC, Sept. 14 

ByteTree CEO Charlie Erith told The Block a successful execution of The Merge would add huge credibility to the world of digital assets. 

“It will be a catalyst for greater investor interest and as a fund manager we at ByteTree hope to see more engagement with and investment from institutions," he said.

Erith also mused over the impact on the price of bitcoin. “There is a school of thought that ETH will one day surpass BTC as the premier digital asset. In relative terms we are close to all time highs, so it will be fascinating to see whether ETH breaks out from here.”

Investors will be watching keenly to see how the market reacts to the upgrade and whether on-chain volumes recover in the coming weeks, Erith concluded.


Congestion and scalability issues won’t be solved immediately, according to Biconomy co-founder. 

Update: 1:15 pm UTC, Sept. 14 

Ahmed Al-Balaghi, co-founder of Biconomy, talked to The Block ahead of The Merge about Layer 2 scaling and sharding.

“The Merge is labeled as a major change for Ethereum at a deep technical level but ultimately for the blockchain user, the experience and [infrastructure] services will largely stay the same. While it aims to set up sharding to address the congestion and scalability issues this is not set to happen immediately,” Al-Balaghi said.

Al-Balaghi said the process will be laddered and some convergence factors will be Layer 2s, roll-ups, and new infrastructure solutions.


Ethereum Name Service founder expects people to gravitate towards decentralized ownership 

Update: 1:00 pm UTC, Sept. 14 

Nick Johnson, founder of the Ethereum Name Service told The Block that, “The Merge has brought with it a lot of interest in Ethereum from different sectors both inside and outside the crypto ecosystem. Should it go as planned, with improved scalability and usability, this evolution could bring more people into the space.”

Johnson added that he expects to see continued growth in the Ethereum ecosystem, as people gravitate towards decentralized ownership and identities that can function as well, if not better than, their centralized counterparts.


Google keeps counting down to The Merge

Update: 12:45 pm UTC, Sept. 14 

A countdown on Google continues to tick down the hours until The Merge. Sam Padilla, web3 customer engineer at Google, introduced the countdown on Twitter last week.

“Everyone is so excited for what is coming and appreciative of the work that has been going into this for years,” he said on Twitter. 

The data used for the countdown is pulled directly from the blockchain via nodes run by Google.


HaskKey Capital’s head of research says The Merge will boost Ethereum’s ecosystem

Update: 12:30 pm UTC, Sept. 14

Jupiter Zheng, Head of Research from HashKey Capital spoke to The Block about Layer 2s after The Merge.

"The Merge will definitely boost Ethereum's ecosystem, beginning with the proliferation of scalability protocols like what happens to Layer 2 today and data availability layers in the future,” Zheng noted.

“Additionally, Layer 2 will build its own ecosystem, and more and more applications will pivot to Ethereum. In turn, this puts pressure on other Layer 1s, and we want them to be better,” he said. 

Zheng concluded that Layer1s are still a huge market outside of Ethereum, noting that they exploded this year in popularity and use.


How the five biggest exchanges are navigating The Merge

Update: 12:15 pm UTC, Sept. 14

Ethereum’s move to proof of stake will mean that many leading crypto exchanges will be suspending deposits and withdrawals of Ethereum ERC-20 tokens.

Binance, Coinbase, FTX, Okx and ByBit have all shared updates, with all but FTX and ByBit planning to limit deposits and withdrawals in some way around the time of The Merge, which is currently scheduled for 05:02 UTC tomorrow. 

Find out more about the exchanges’ plans here.


The team behind the ETHPoW fork shared an update ahead of The Merge

Update: 12:00 pm UTC, Sept. 14

The core team behind the upcoming EthereumPoW fork shared an update on its planned fork on Wednesday.

ETHW Core has prepared a link for network participants to download a snapshot of the chain that contains all data and synchronization resources for the network prior to The Merge. The team went on to say it will take some time for the full deployment of the chain and called for patience on the part of miners, exchanges, wallet providers, node operators, and other network participants.


eToro analyst shares view on The Merge

Update: 11:30 am UTC, Sept. 14

Simon Peters, a crypto analyst at eToro, told The Block that all eyes in crypto are watching The Merge on Wednesday, as market participants position themselves ahead of the upgrade. 

“The token and its blockchain, while not the largest by market capitalisation, is enormously influential in the sector because it is one of the most widely used platforms for crypto projects,” he said. 

“The frenetic activity has reignited discussion over a supposed ‘flippening’ taking place in 2023,” referring to the market cap of ether overtaking that of bitcoin.

Peters went on to say that the market is still a long way away from achieving this, but that we will know much more after The Merge.


The Merge draws gazes far and wide

Update: 11:15 am UTC, Sept. 14

The Merge has attracted far-reaching gazes beyond the cryptocurrency community, with Stripe CEO Patrick Collison praising the upgrade on Tuesday. 

“Excited about The Merge! One of the coolest examples of sustained, ambitious, technically difficult open source development,” Collison said

He went on to share well wishes with Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin and the Ethereum foundation, as well as his congratulations. 

The Merge has also featured on news outlets around the world, even accompanying news of the Queen’s funeral on the front page of The Financial times.


Vitalik Buterin's dad weighs in 

Update: 11:00 am UTC, Sept. 14

Dmitry Buterin, Vitalik Buterin’s father, told The Block via Twitter of his admiration for all of the hard work that’s gone into The Merge over the years.

"For starters, it's a culmination of years of hard work by so many smart, passionate humans in the Ethereum community. Research, hope, dead ends, disappointment, impatience, everything,” he said.
“It's also a huge milestone for the crypto space to handle one of the biggest [points] of its criticism - it's [a] humongous waste of energy. And current times clearly show how big of a deal that is - just look at Russia blackmailing Europe with energy over [the] Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

He added that it’s a foundation for other improvements planned for Ethereum.


Ether price dips below $1,600 going into The Merge

Update: 10:45 am UTC, Sept. 14

The price of ether remains down ahead of The Merge on Wednesday. It has fallen over 7% and is flirting with levels below $1,600.

Despite Ethereum's impending move to proof of stake, it appears that ether remains unable to recover from yesterday's shock news of U.S. inflation data.


'Ethereum Merge' searches soar worldwide

Update: 10:00 am UTC, Sept. 14 

Worldwide Google searches for “Ethereum Merge” have reached an all-time high ahead of the blockchain’s major upgrade.


5,000 blocks to go until the upgrade is complete

Update: 9:50 am UTC, Sept. 14

EthHub co-founder Anthony Sassano pointed out on Twitter that Ethereum’s upgrade is now 5,000 blocks away from completion. 

“5000 blocks until Ethereum leaves Proof of Work behind forever. A new era is almost upon us,” said Sassano.

Arca senior vice president excited to see where Ethereum is headed

Update: 9:40 am UTC, Sept. 14 

Michal Benedykcinski, senior vice president of research for Arca, told The Block that The Merge could bring a slowdown in fundraising announcements. He expects a subset of startups will hold off on making announcements until after The Merge in the fourth quarter. Yet he maintains that it’s still a positive event for such startups.

“By and large, I would say the majority of our ventures and projects have no kind of qualms or issues with The Merge Many of them, in fact, were equally excited to [see] where Ethereum is headed and so see it overall as a positive catalyst than perhaps a cause for concern,” he said.

One of the world's biggest content delivery networks backs The Merge

Update: 9:30 am UTC, Sept. 14 

Cloudflare, which provides key infrastructure for the internet, announced its support for The Merge on Wednesday.

“We are excited to announce support for the Ethereum Merge on the Ethereum network and that our Ethereum gateways now support the Görli and Sepolia test networks (testnets). Sepolia and Görli testnets can be used to test and develop full decentralized applications (dapps) or test upgrades to be deployed on the mainnet Ethereum network,” the firm wrote in a statement.

Joe Lubin: The Merge will be as smooth as upgrading your phone while you sleep

Update: 9:00 am UTC, Sept. 14 

Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin told Bloomberg TV The Merge is the third major event in the history of crypto after the advent of Bitcoin and the development of Ethereum.

“It’ll be as smooth as if your iPhone or your laptop has upgraded its operating system automatically overnight,” Lubin told Bloomberg.

CoinGecko's Bobby Ong: The Merge will remove a lot of concerns over environmental impact

Update: 8:55 am UTC, Sept. 14

CoinGecko co-founder Bobby Ong weighs in on the impact of The Merge on proof of stake more broadly.

"Ethereum moving from Proof of Work to Proof of Stake certainly validates the thesis that Proof of Stake blockchains will be the more sustainable method to validate blockchains moving forward. This is a good move as it makes Ethereum more environmentally-friendly and will remove a lot of concerns that users had on its environmental impact due to mining," he told The Block.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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About Author

Adam Morgan is The Block's markets reporter. He has been based in London for the past year, initially freelancing and working for a start-up there before beginning a fellowship at Business Insider. He Tweets @AdamMcMarkets