Final proof-of-work Ethereum block used to create 'vanity' NFT

Quick Take

  • The last Ethereum block before the network switched to proof of stake was used to mint an NFT of a pair of eyes.
  • The NFT took up the whole block, leaving no room for any other transactions.

The final Ethereum block mined before the network switched from proof-of-work (POW) consensus was used to mint a single NFT — at a cost of about $50,000.

The NFT is what's known as a vanity block and was created by the VanityBlocks team, according to VanityBlocks founder MonkeyOnTheLoose. A vanity block contains a transaction so large that it intentionally fills up the entire block — leaving no room for any other transactions.

The NFT is called "The Last POW Block" and, like all VanityBlocks, shows a pair of eyes peering out from a black background.

VanityBlocks founder MonkeyOnTheLoose told The Block on Thursday that they had been working on this final-block project for about a month — despite being aware it had a slim chance of success.

"I guess it's a meditation artsy kinda thing," MonkeyOnTheLoose said via Telegram. "Been working on [VanityBlocks] for a year now. Going against all [odds]. We had like a 15% chance to actually get it." 

The final proof-of-work block also contained the text, "You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick."

VanityBlocks are an expensive way to mint an NFT. VanityBlocks paid 31 ETH ($49,600) directly to mining pool F2Pool to mint the NFT and spent 1.3 ETH on transaction fees (partly burned and partly sent to f2Pool). MonkeyOnTheLoose said they raised 70 ETH from investors in three days to make this happen.

VanityBlocks' method of seizing entire Ethereum blocks gained some attention back in February. It caused some controversy since the method slows down the network for everyone else. 

The Merge took place at 6:44 a.m. UTC today as Ethereum transitioned from proof of work to proof of stake. This reduced the network's environmental impact and made several changes to its tokenomics.

After The Merge

In an act of symmetry, not only was the last POW block dedicated to minting an NFT but the first block on proof of stake was also used to mint one.

The first POS block was used to create an NFT of a panda, including some key details relating to the block. A person using the name The Transition — who has just set up a new Twitter account and website — has claimed they created it. The collection appears to be a limited run of 100 NFTs, which are being auctioned on the website.

For the latest news and updates about The Merge, make sure to check out our live coverage.

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.