Bitcoin is the biggest cryptocurrency in the world, but last week the market was squarely watching Ethereum as it completed its merge process and brought forth a new age of change for the cryptocurrency space.
The Ethereum merge created a more environmentally friendly standard for the blockchain network, which is home to Ether, Bitcoin’s closest cryptocurrency competitor.
Will the Ethereum merge ultimately make Ether a more appealing option than Bitcoin? It’s still early days, but experts are watching closely to see how the Ethereum merge will change the cryptocurrency sector.
What is the Ethereum merge?
On September 15, Ethereum moved its blockchain validation system from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake.
Alex Tapscott, managing director at Ninepoint Partners, told the Investing News Network (INN) that the team behind Ethereum decided to make the change to the network’s consensus mechanism because of the intensive computer power required by proof-of-work. In contrast, the proof-of-stake process requires comparatively little energy.
“It’s roughly the equivalent of swapping out the engines of a jetliner traveling at 700 miles an hour across the Atlantic for electric motors (that don’t) disrupt the in-flight entertainment system or the drink cart,” he said.
The merge brought the Ethereum mainnet together with the Beacon Chain, a proof-of-stake version of Ethereum had already been running for over a year. This update means Ethereum now runs more efficiently.
“Proof-of-stake … was a very important thing that was discussed since the very beginning and now it’s being carried out. … It’s been a long time coming,” Anthony Di Iorio, co-founder of Ethereum, told CoinDesk.
How will the Ethereum merge affect Bitcoin?
The Ethereum merge has opened the doors to thinking about cryptocurrencies and blockchain opportunities in a different way.
Experts have told INN a change in narrative is much needed, particularly in light of the incredibly difficult and high-pressure year the blockchain sector has had in 2022 as cryptocurrency prices disappoint and sentiment fades.
Overall there’s a sense that the energy-saving benefits of the Ethereum merge will attract more mature investors, including larger institutional players, and may even give Ether an edge over Bitcoin.
Gareth Soloway, chief market strategist at InTheMoneyStocks.com, hinted to INN about an overall change in mindset for mature and environmentally conscious investors who may have avoided the blockchain market before.
But could the Ethereum merge actually cause a change in the way Bitcoin operates?
“I think generally within the community, there’s a lot of concerns about the environmental case,” Greg Taylor, chief investment officer at Purpose Investments, recently told INN. “Bitcoin itself still uses a lot of power. And who knows — down the road, maybe they’ll be tempted to do something like this too. But that’s not being contemplated yet.”
However, he added, “There’s definitely people watching to see if it can be done on other networks.”
The development team behind Ethereum put a large amount of care and dedication into the Ethereum merge, planning for the event long before it happened. Now the ball seems to be in Bitcoin’s court — it remains to be seen if Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency known as digital gold, will need to adjust its operations to remain competitive with Ether.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Bryan Mc Govern, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.
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