At long last, themerge has arrived.
The upgrade has forever changed both how ETH is created and how transactions on the Ethereum network are validated. Up until the moment of the merge, ETH was generated by “mining,” an energy-intensive process by which individuals directed huge amounts of computer power at difficult-to-solve puzzles.
Proof of stake is a mechanism by which new ETH is instead generated by individuals and entities pledging large amounts of pre-existing ETH. The transition is anticipated to be faster, more scalable, and over 99% more environmentally friendly.
The event was triggered by Ethereum’s mainnet hitting “terminal total difficulty,” the predetermined point at which mining ETH became effectively impossible, and the network automatically began transitioning to a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism.
In the twelve white-knuckled minutes that followed, the world, along with Ethereum’s cadre of core developers, anxiously watched to see if the network would begin successfully proposing and approving new blocks of transactions via proof of stake.