Ethereum Merge: What They Are Saying

Curitiba, PR, Brazil - June 16, 2021: Ethereum coin on a circuit board setup with LEDs representing the high technology involved in the cryptocurrency network.
Capuski / Getty Images

The Merge — Ethereum’s full transition to proof-of-stake (PoS) from proof-of-work (PoW) — was completed successfully on Sept. 15, to the admiration and acclaim of many.

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The upgrade, which had been delayed for many years, was hailed as one of the most decisive moments in crypto history for several reasons, notably because of the 99.9% reduction in energy consumption.

Let’s take a look at some reactions.

Dmitry Buterin, tech entrepreneur & father of Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum’s co-creator

“This brings to fruition Vitalik’s original vision for Ethereum, achieved by many smart, passionate humans working together in the Ethereum community,” Dmitry Buterin said. “Research, hope, dead ends, disappointment, impatience, everything.

“It’s also a huge milestone for the crypto space to handle one of the biggest points of its criticism: its 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.”

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Buterin added that The Merge is also an important step in increasing Ethereum chain’s security and censorship resistance.

“Finally,” he said, “it’s paving the way forward for many other cool improvements on the Ethereum roadmap.”

World Economic Forum (WEF)

The WEF called The Merge “a landmark event in the history of crypto.”

In an article, the WEF said, “Crypto has been waiting for a recalibration towards sustainability — one that not only optimizes the value proposition that crypto and blockchain applications present for crypto users, but also for Web3 climate innovators, the new generation of environmental advocates, as well as U.S. climate efforts more broadly.”

WEF added that it should serve as an incentive for proof-of-work applications and miners to utilize clean, renewable energy sources.

“Doing so would attract lucrative financing from ESG-conscious business leaders keen to make green investments. Similarly, sustainable crypto mining would also draw the regulatory support needed to amplify and scale the industry’s capacity to achieve its full potential as a valuable job creator, wealth builder and city developer. The possibility for further expansion in this space in lockstep with climate-positive Web3 innovation remains steadfast.”

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Regulators-Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

According to The Wall Street Journal, The Merge — due to its switch to PoS — may have turned ETH into a security in the eyes of SEC Chairman Gary Gensler.

Following the upgrade, Gensler said cryptos enabling holders to “stake” their coins might pass a key test used by courts to determine whether an asset is a security, The WSJ reported.  

Bitcoin Bulls

In turn, Bitcoin mega bull Michael Saylor, MicroStrategy founder, tweeted the WSJ article and posted a few tweets and an article taking aim at Bitcoin detractors, notably those who say its energy consumption is an issue.

On Sept. 14, he tweeted: “Given the sheer volume of misinformation & propaganda circulating lately, I thought it important to share the truth regarding Bitcoin Mining and the Environment.”

On Sept. 15, Merge day, he simply tweeted: “There is no alternative to Bitcoin.”

This was followed on Sept. 16 by: “The latest White House Crypto Climate & Energy Report is full of misinformation generated and promulgated by unscrupulous crypto promoters in order to undermine Bitcoin.”

Anto Paroian, CEO at cryptocurrency hedge fund ARK36

“From a purely technological perspective, it is difficult to overstate how big of an engineering feat The Merge represents,” Paroian said. “No analogy could perfectly capture its technological complexity. But, in layman’s terms, it is more or less like constructing a new engine for a car that is going at full speed and then switching the engines without the car ever stopping or slowing down. That it was orchestrated by a global network of developers who aren’t managed by any central entity is already a triumph of the core ideals of the crypto space — decentralization, self-governance and open-source collaboration.”

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
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