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Tensions rise between Ethereum miners and developers

Photo of: Joseph Stone
by Joseph Stone

Congestion is good for Ethereum miners’ revenues. For its users, however, it is a thorn in the side. Ethereum developers have chosen their side and fees will go down.

Is there any danger in the Ethereum house? Congestion is nothing new. But the grumbling of users and businesses about the blockchain’s gas fees has gone up a notch in recent weeks.

So much so that it has discouraged investors from using Ethereum for their transactions on the DeFi protocols? Over a month, the number of active Ethereum wallets is down by 40%. However, several initiatives are underway to provide a sustainable solution.

But these are far from exciting the miners, probably the first beneficiaries of this situation. Ethereum developers are nevertheless determined to accelerate the transition to ETH 2.0.

Their priority is to switch as quickly as possible from the Proof of Work consensus to the Proof of Stake consensus. At the moment, two networks coexist in parallel, Eth 1.0 in PoW, and Eth 2 (at least the Beacon chain) in PoS.

The ambition of the developers is therefore to connect the two networks as soon as possible. On March 11, Mikhail Kalinin published the specifications of this future merger between the two generations of Ethereum.

And the heart of this transition will be the move to Proof of Stake. In this model, there will be no more rewards for miners based on the amount of computing power they provide – as in Bitcoin. With PoS, miners, or rather validators, are paid according to the amount of ETH in escrow.

The transition is therefore not a trivial one for current Ethereum miners. Especially since this is not the only upcoming development on the blockchain that could hit them in the wallet. An imminent update (July) is to be implemented on the network.

Proposal 1559 aims to replace the existing fees with a fixed price and a burn mechanism. However, according to Cointelegraph, this change could result in a decrease in miners’ income of up to 50%.

The revolt is therefore rumbling on the side of these actors. The most vehement are calling for a “show of force” on April 1. In what form? By redirecting for 51 hours their hash power to the Ethermine mining pool, opposed to the 1559.

Ethereum developers are not ignoring this threat. In February, the blockchain’s co-creator, Vitalik Buterin, said on a Chinese social network that retaliation to a 51% attack was being prepared. How? By further accelerating the transition to PoS.