Understanding ETH’s Latest Upgrade: What next after The Merge?
As philosopher George Santayana put it: “To know your future, you must know your past.” So to understand what the Ethereum blockchain upgrade known as The Merge was all about, you need to understand its history.
You should also be aware that the world of crypto can be rather unpredictable, so — more than three months after it happened — we still don’t really know what sort of impact The Merge has had, especially when we consider the market crash caused by the collapse of the FTX (FTT) exchange in November 2022.
The Ethereum blockchain was launched in 2015 by co-founders Vitalik Buterin, Gavin Wood, Charles Hoskinson and Anthony Di Iorio. Its native cryptocurrency is ether (ETH).
ETH to USDT chart
The blockchain went through a hard fork in July 2016, creating Ethereum Classic (ETC), a continuation of the original blockchain, and what is now the Ethereum blockchain (ETH).
The hard fork came about when the blockchain’s participants disagreed over how to respond to a hack of the decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO) that resulted in the theft of 3.6 million ether coins.
The Merge is the Ethereum blockchain’s latest upgrade, and went live on 15 September 2022. On 24 November, it was revealed that the system would go through another upgrade, called Shanghai, at an unspecified future date which Decrypt suggested could be in the spring of 2023.
Meanwhile, in December 2022, Visa announced a proposal for people to be able to make automatic ETH payments direct from their crypto wallets.
What next after The Merge?
While The Merge was highly anticipated by investors and developers, Ethereum’s existing miners weren’t too happy about the change to proof-of-stake. After all, they stood to lose out financially as a result of the change.
It was no great surprise, then, to learn that a group of miners had teamed up to create ETHW, which is basically the forked version of ether. This will allow people to earn money from a version of ETH.
On 12 September 2022, ETHW Core — the group behind the proposed new fork — tweeted that the crypto’s mainnet would go live within 24 hours of The Merge.
This was confirmed by a tweet not long after The Merge went live, prior to which it posted a list of mining pools. The mainnet went live and, on 16 September 2022, the new version of the coin was worth about $14.15, according to CoinMarketCap.
Over the next few days, though, ETHW suffered a so-called replay attack, sending the price down to around $6.95 by 20 September. By 22 September, it was worth about $5.90, and it recovered a little to around $6.20 on 23 September. The next day, it surged to reach a high of $13.78, before dropping back down to around $10.28 on 26 September 2022.
By 30 September 2022, the price had recovered to about $12.30 before dropping back over the following week to around $7.45. By 14 October, ETHW was trading at $7.44, and it fell further over the next week to below $6.
After that, ether’s price rise helped push its offshoot up to $7.59 on 26 October 2022 before it dropped to stand at around $5.94 on 7 November. The market collapse following the Binance/FTX takeover debacle saw it trade at a low of $3.58 on 9 November, before recovering to $4.60 on 10 November.
It then dropped to an all-time low of $3.13 on 22 November before recovering to trade at about $4 on 2 December and then falling to around $3.05 on 3 January before recovering to about $3.35 on 9 January 2023. It will be worth noting what further developments take place regarding ETHW.
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