The Merge is live! The first hours of Ethereum 2.0 and the crypto community’s reactions

Elisa Campaci

5 min

The Merge is live! Ethereum 2.0's first moments and reactions

The Merge was activated on the 15th of September 2022. What happened during the first hours of Ethereum 2.0? How did the crypto sector react?

The activation of The Merge update has been called a ‘milestone’, a ‘historic moment‘ and a ‘revolution’. In recent months, The Merge has been narrated in a few different ways. It has been interpreted as the engine change of a running car, or as a spaceship not yet ready for interstellar travel according to the Ethereum Foundation’s comparison. Any narrative has tried to do justice to the scale of this update, one of the largest open-source software projects in history, which required the coordination of dozens of teams, researchers, developers and volunteers.

Some people on the night of 14th – 15th of September followed the crucial moments of The Merge minute by minute as if they were watching the launch of a space mission. As the TTD approached, watch parties and streams began to follow the precise moment the Merge was completed. Everyone gathered together from all over the world. Those who watched the Ethereum Foundation’s live broadcast also received a celebratory POAP, an NFT that will forever prove attendance at the pivotal event of the blockchain conceived by Vitalik Buterin. Check out the first hours of Ethereum 2.0 and the crypto community’s reactions to the activation of The Merge!

Ethereum is now Proof-of-Stake!

With Proof-of-Stake, Ethereum is now ready for interstellar travel. On Thursday the 15th of September at 06:42:42 UTC, the Total Terminal Difficulty 58750000000000000 was reached and the Beacon Chain was finally integrated with Ethereum’s mainnet. Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ethereum, commented on the activation of The Merge with this statement: “And we have finalised! Happy merge everyone, this is a great moment for the Ethereum ecosystem. Everyone who helped make the merge happen should feel really proud today.”

The first epoch, i.e. the first packet of 32 blocks, of Ethereum 2.0 was finalised at 06:59. This was the litmus test that kept everyone in suspense. The finalisation of the first epoch confirmed that Ethereum 2.0 was working properly. The last block of Ethereum Proof-of-Work, number 15537393, was mined by the F2Pool mining pool, one of the first pools to deal with Bitcoin mining. The gas paid by the pool for the transaction was 29,991,429 gwei, which is the smallest unit of Ether (1 ETH consists of one billion gwei). The miner of the last PoW block included a message in Mandarin in the block itself: “七彩神仙鱼F!”, which translates to “Colourful Angelfish F!”. From then on, the miners were no longer responsible for the validation of Ethereum transactions. An NFT was created from ethereum’s last mined block and created for sale on OpenSea under the name ‘The Last POW Block’.

Celebrations for The Merge and the first NFT on Ethereum PoS

A few hours after the activation of The Merge, someone paid 36 ETH (the equivalent of $57,600) to ‘mine’ the first NFT on Ethereum 2.0. The non-fungible token represents a panda and some details of the state of the blockchain at the time it was created.

Why a panda? The animal became the symbol of The Merge because it was pictured as a combination of a white bear and a black bear. A few days ago, Sam Padilla, Google’s Web3 engineer, introduced a small easter egg in the search engine screens. When a user would search for ‘The Merge Ethereum’ or similar terms, the countdown for the update appeared alongside two little bears, one white and one black. As the countdown elapsed, they moved ever closer to each other. The timer was directly connected to the blockchain and updated in real time. From now on after the successful completion of the merge, a panda appears clutching the ETH symbol between its paws.

Beeple, the famous NFT artist, also paid homage to The Merge by posting his latest work depicting a giant Ethereum symbol on Twitter.

The crypto community’s reactions to The Merge

The crypto community exploded in comments and celebrations after the activation of The Merge. Here are some of them!

1. Yuga Labs

Yuga Labs, the founders of Bored Ape Yacht Club, the leading NFT collection built on Ethereum, wrote: “Congratulations to the entire Ethereum team on a successful merge. This is a historic moment for us and a big step in scaling Ethereum to its first billion users.” For Yuga Labs, it is crucial that Ethereum becomes a blockchain capable of handling a large volume of transactions simultaneously. Especially now that it is building Otherside, its Metaverse.

2. Tim Beiko, the spokesman for the developers of The Merge

‘We are done. It’s done. We merged. Holy s**t. Amazing work everyone!” was how Tim Beiko, one of the developers most involved in The Merge, commented on the success of the update.

3.    Justin Sun, Charles Hoskinson, Emin Gun Sirer

Congratulations on the successful upgrade of Ethereum also came from competitors. Among them, congratulations came from the founders of Tron, Avalanche and Cardano.

         Charles Hoskinson, who was part of the core founders of Ethereum, recorded a video in which he explained that he wanted to take a moment to praise the hard work of the people who brought about this ‘historic moment’. According to Hoskinson, The Merge is the most complex thing ever achieved in the crypto sector. An example of scientific progress and a victory for all!

On the same wavelength, Emin Gün Sirer of Avalanche wrote that the Merge was: ‘a moment and a milestone to remember. Congratulations to the developers who navigated enormous technical complexity. You should be incredibly proud’.

What happened to the price of ETH after The Merge

In the minutes immediately following the activation of the update, the value of the cryptocurrency dropped slightly (by 0.4 per cent compared to the previous 24 hours). However, the price of ETH after The Merge remained essentially unchanged, hovering around $1,600.

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