Tuesday, May 17, 2022

The end is nigh for GPU Miners

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With the formal opening of a new test not designed to work out the kinks in the upcoming mining-less approach, The Merge, which will end Ethereum mining with GPUs, is taking important steps closer to becoming a reality. As a result, gamers will no longer have to compete for graphics cards with Ethereum miners.

This news comes at the end of a good year for Ethereum miners, with the cryptocurrency’s price rising from around $731 on January 1 to around $3,940 at the time of writing, according to Coinbase data. The rise of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) has also pushed the Ethereum hash rate to new highs. The transition to a proof-of-stake model, which does not rely on miners to maintain the blockchain’s integrity, has been pushed back from the end of 2021 to the first half of 2022.

But that changeover, dubbed “The Merge” by many, is still on the way. On Monday, the Ethereum Foundation introduced the Kintsugi testnet to help developers “familiarise themselves with Ethereum in a post-merger scenario.” Miners’ ability to optimize their profits ahead of The Merge or identify which cryptocurrency they’ll devote their computing power to later was left unmentioned.

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“The Kintsugi testnet provides the community an opportunity to experiment with post-merge Ethereum and begin to identify any issues,” the foundation said in its announcement. “Once feedback has been incorporated into the client software [sic] and the specifications, a final series of testnets will be launched. In parallel, testing efforts will continue ramping up. After this, existing long-lived testnets will run through The Merge. Once these have upgraded and are stable, next up is Ethereum mainnet’s transition to proof of stake.”

Kintsugi has a dedicated landing page for testers; the document contains more information on how to use this public testnet. In an October blog post, Ethereum developer Tim Beiko (who CoinDesk named one of the most influential people in crypto for 2021) provided a detailed breakdown of how Ethereum will function after The Merge.

“At a high level, at The Merge, clients will switch from the following PoW to following PoS to determine Ethereum’s latest valid block,” Beiko said. “Aside from that, most of the clients’ functionality, and, more importantly, the EVM, its state, and how it executes transactions, will stay the same. […] Post-merge, the current Eth1 and Eth2 clients respectively become the execution and consensus layers (or engines) of Ethereum. This means that node operators of either Eth1 or the Beacon Chain clients will need to run the ‘other half of the stack to have a fully validating node.”

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The Merge will result in modifications to Beacon Nodes, the Engine API, and the Execution Engine, according to the rest of the blog article. (Additional schematics are explaining the new architecture, but they’ve been minted as NFTs, and we wouldn’t want to indicate that NFT images can be used by someone who doesn’t own them.) Kintsugi is designed to move the Ethereum network closer to implementing this architecture.

In the “The Merge Mainnet Readiness Checklist” repository on GitHub, the Ethereum Foundation has revealed, “several tasks to work through to make the Merge suitable for Mainnet deployment.” Of course, there’s still a lot of work to be done, so miners shouldn’t worry just yet. However, it appears that the day when Ethereum enthusiasts will no longer have to fight for graphics cards with Ethereum miners is getting closer.

also read:

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Nivedita Bangari
Nivedita Bangari
I am a software engineer by profession and technology is my love, learning and playing with new technologies is my passion.

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