The Merge, merged
1. Top of mind: The meaning of The Merge
The Merge – the major Ethereum upgrade that happened early Thursday morning – will go down as one of the important moments in the history of open source. It involved a community of hundreds of developers across multiple different clients, languages (programming and spoken!), and organizations driving years of research and hard technical development.
Transitioning Ethereum to “proof-of-stake” (PoS) from “proof-of-work” (PoW) – two very different methods for reaching consensus on blocks of transactions – was an insane feat: The update involved hot-swapping the most important component of Ethereum’s architecture, its consensus mechanism, *while it was running*. [One core dev described this as “changing the engine on a moving car”.] All this occurred while maintaining perfect uptime for millions of users, thousands of decentralized applications (dapps), and hundreds of billions of dollars secured. Ethereum will never be the same; here’s why and how…
2. NFT drop: ‘Proof-of-Merge’
Michael Blau, Mason Hall
As a creative example of dynamic, on-chain NFTs, and to commemorate The Merge, a16z crypto’s Michael Blau (also known as the NFT artist @x0rart) and Mason Hall created a non-transferable, free-to-mint NFT. Based on strictly on-chain data, the art cycled through three phases depending on the state of the Ethereum network. The ability to mint the token ended as soon as the Merge happened, so anyone whose wallet now has this token can prove they were “there” early. It could become an “on-chain fossil”, future “OG badge of honor”, or something to show one’s kids one day… if you think about the long arc of innovation and future digital history. Here’s what went into making the NFT.
3. ICYMI: before (and beyond) The Merge
🎧 listen: “Ethereum, Merge and Beyond” podcast with Tim Beiko, Tim Roughgarden, Ali Yahya, and Sonal Chokshi
🎧 listen: “PoS Blockchains – Designs, Consensus, Attacks” podcast with Valeria Nikolaenko, Tim Roughgarden, and Sonal Chokshi
💌 read: “beyond The Merge” newsletter (most recent edition before this)
💌 read: Ropsten merge coverage in earlier newsletter (mid-June)
--Robert Hackett, Sonal Chokshi, and a16z crypto team
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