Ethereum 2.0 Merger Delayed Yet Again Right As GPU Prices Start To Fall
Say it with us—"Le sigh!" That's about the only reaction we can muster to news that Ethereum's much-anticipated shift to a proof-of-work model, and with it a long-overdue ease on GPU mining, is delayed...again. Prior to this latest delay, the full transition to Ethereum 2.0 was supposed to take place this June. Not anymore.
What exactly does this mean? Well, crummy timing, for one. The multi-phase shift to Ethereum 2.0 has already begun, and once complete we should, in theory, see the demand for GPU mining drop considerably. Or at least as it concerns mining Ethereum, which is pretty dang popular in the cryptocurrency world.
The idea behind switching from a proof-of-work to a proof-of-stake model is that it promises a massive 99.95 percent reduction in energy consumption. Instead of tasking miners with leveraging GPUs to solve complicated and time consuming cryptographic hash functions to verify the blockchain, the proof-of-work model would verify transactions (called blocks) based on a person's existing stake in Ethereum.
"Under PoW, as the price of ETH and the hashrate are positively correlated. Therefore, as as the price increases, in equilibrium so too does the power consumed by the network. Under proof-of-stake, when the price of ETH increases, the security of the network does too (the value of the ETH at-stake is worth more), but the energy requirements remain unchanged," Carl Beekhuizen, a researcher at the Ethereum Foundation, explained last year.
Sounds great, but there have been multiple delays in making the transition.
Ethereum developer Tim Beiko shared the update on Twitter, saying it's not going to happen in June, "but likely a few months after." So at least it's not a lengthy delay. That's assuming this is the last one, and to that point, he further notes, "we're definitely in the final chapter of PoW on Ethereum." So, keep those fingers crossed.
The delay comes just as the GPU market has started to show signs of trending towards stabilizing, finally. That's not to say graphics cards are flowing freely and at MSRP, or will be soon. But some models have generally been easier to find in stock lately, at less of a markup than in past months. And at the very high end, it's not difficult to find a GeForce RTX 3090 Ti selling at its sticker price. That might not have been the case had it released six months earlier, even with its already-high price tag.
Hopefully this is the last of the Ethereum 2.0 delays. As it stands, the transition should happen right around the time Intel begins shipping its first Arc Alchemist desktop graphics cards. Fun times ahead.