Ethereum Post-Merge Risks Being Seen As A “Proof-Of-Security” Asset

After countless delays, the Ethereum “Merge” finally took place this week, switching the blockchain protocol from proof-of-work (PoW) to proof-of-stake (PoS).

What this means, in brief, is that Ethereum’s native coin, Ether (ETH)—the world’s second largest digital asset following Bitcoin (BTC)—can no longer be mined using a graphics processing unit (GPU). Instead, participants can choose to “stake” their ETH on the network. The Ethereum network then selects which of these participants, known as “validators,” get to validate transactions, and if such validations are found to be accurate and legitimate, participants are rewarded with new ETH blocks.

So what’s the catch? Well, there are a couple of big ones: 1) To become a validator, participants must stake at least 32 ETH, the equivalent of $46,400 at today’s prices, and 2) They must stake them for years.

You can see, then, how the Merge has transformed ETH from a decentralized asset, available to any young gamer with access to a decent GPU, to more of a centralized, oligarchic asset, controlled by a relatively few participants who already own tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of ETH.

In fact, as CoinDesk reported this week, two large validators were responsible for over 40% of the new ETH blocks that were added in the hours post-Merge. Those validators are crypto exchange platform Coinbase and crypto staking service Lido Finance.