The Merge is approaching, and the team behind EthereumPoW (ETHW), a proof-of-work (PoW) spinoff from the Ethereum blockchain, on Monday detailed plans to officially launch its hard fork.
According to a thread posted by the EthereumPoW Twitter account, the fork will be deployed soon after the Merge on September 15.
Forking The Ethereum Merge
Ethereum is set to switch off its proof-of-work consensus mechanism and turn to a proof-of-stake (PoS) security model. The landmark Merge event is expected to land this coming Thursday. In shifting from PoW, Ethereum will rely on validators rather than miners to verify transactions and secure the network. Ether holders can validate the network by staking their assets and receive rewards in return for their services.
Though most Ethereum stakeholders welcome the transition from the energy-intensive PoW system to the greener PoS, a group of resisters is against the significant upgrade. Those against Ethereum’s move to PoS have proposed forking the network, producing a competing version of the blockchain that keeps the old PoW chain alive.
The Monday announcement revealed that the ETHW mainnet would go live 24 hours after the Merge. The team did not give a precise time, noting that this information would be made available “1 hour before launch with a countdown timer, and everything including final code, binaries, config files, nodes info, RPC, explorer, etc. will be made public when the time’s up.”
The ETHW mainnet will commence at the block height of the Merge block plus 2048 empty blocks, implying that the first EthereumPoW block to include transactions on the mainnet will be the Merge block +2049. This will ensure that the chainID transitions successfully and that the chain is the longest chain of ETHW.
ETHPoW was originally the idea of well-known Chinese crypto miner Chandler Guo. Guo, who notably supported the 2016 Ethereum fork that resulted in Ethereum Classic (ETC), first brought out a case for the PoW fork in July this year. The influential miner even bragged about successfully forking the Ethereum network once, noting he will fork it again.
Crypto industry leaders such as the controversial Tron founder Justin Sun have thrown their support behind ETHW. Some exchanges like Coinbase, Binance, Poloniex, Bitfinex, and BitMEX have confirmed support for the Ethereum proof-of-work fork.
Other leading crypto firms, however, including Circle and Tether — issuers of the market’s two biggest stablecoins, USDC and USDT, respectively — have declared their refusal to support ETHW.
Major Concerns Linger
As things currently stand, the vast majority of users, developers, and decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols seemingly intend to remain on Ethereum and keep building and are dismissing the fork efforts as pointless.
Moreover, some community members are questioning the true motives of the hard fork. Ethereum Classic developer Igor Artamonov, for instance, tweeted: “The main sell point could be ‘pow is more secure.’ But they sell it under ‘miners need to earn money.’ Why??? That’s stupid. That’s not why people would use a blockchain. ‘Safety’ would be a better reason.”
Igor also criticized the plan to launch the ETHPoW chain after the Merge. “It’s like losing 90% of momentum just on launch,” he said. “And no one would take it seriously if it’s not a continuous/non-stop chain.”
Whether the proof-of-work Ethereum offshoot garners considerable support from the broader crypto community when it’s rivalling Ethereum Classic (which uses PoW and has been established and maintained for six years) remains to be seen.