Robert Steinadler, 8 months ago

Against all odds: One man attempts to hard fork Ethereum

The Merge is most likely to happen in late September and this has driven the price for ETH north of $1.500. While the developers are preparing to stage the last test before the release can be done, there are also people who are unhappy with the choices that the Ethereum community made. Miners will lose their jobs, since there is no place for them in this brave new proof of stake world, that Ethereum is about to become.

Who is Chandler Guo, why is he attempting to fork Ethereum, and does this make sense at all?

Very important miner

Guo is no stranger to the blockchain industry. He is an influential figure in China’s mining industry which already took a hit in May 2021, when the Chinese government banned mining all along. Now that the Merge is going to happen soonish, miners are again facing a devastating blow.

A large part of Ethereum mining depends on graphic cards rather than ASICs. This means that the hash power of these cards could be redirected to another network but the revenue might be lower since GPUs are unable to compete with AISCs in most cases. It is true that there are ASICs available for the Ethereum mining algorithm but GPUs are still competitive and highly used among miners.

This raises an interesting question: Where will all these miners turn to once the Merge has commenced? Guo wants to initiate a hard fork of Ethereum and create EthereumPoW which would allow him and other miners to continue operations on the new chain.

Ethereum Classic is also a viable choice

One thing to keep in mind is that Ethereum already had forked once in its history. It was in the year 2016 when Ethereum Classic rebelled against the decision to reverse the outcome of the DAO hack. Ever since the smaller network is up and running but is also faced difficulties like 51 % attacks during the last couple of years.

Most recently price and hash rate of Ethereum Classic increased since miners became aware that they have to look for an alternative chain that also supports GPUs. Ethereum Classic is very GPU friendly. After several attacks on the network, the mining algorithm was changed effectively banning services like NiceHash and ASICs. As a result of that change, it is also possible to mine ETC with GPUs that have 4 GB RAM which is in many cases a limiting factor.

It is not clear how EthereumPoW is going to build a smart contract ecosystem after the fork. A blockchain alone is not adding value to the chain. Decentralized financial applications are the reason why Ethereum became such a huge success. In conclusion, it will be important which proof of work chain will be supported by the miners but it will also play a large role in how many users are going to opt for a different chain. Another factor is the support of stablecoins and exchanges. That being said, both Ethereum Classic and EthereumPoW will most likely have a hard time trying to compete with Ethereum. Only a scenario where the Merge will result in complete catastrophe might help these smaller chains. While it is not possible to rule this out, the chances are very low.

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