The Merge as seen by NFT artists, fan art from Beeple to Vanity Blocks

Filippo Iachello

5 min

The Merge: NFTs dedicated to Ethereum 2.0

Beeple and other digital artists celebrate The Merge, discover the NFTs created in honour of the Ethereum update!

The Merge has finally been activated and the Web3 world is in full celebration. Digital artwork and NFTs dedicated to Ethereum 2.0 were not late to the party either! The launch of The Merge officially took place on Thursday the 15th of September at 06:42:42 UTC, activated from block number 15537393. The update marked Ethereum’s final transition to the Proof-Of-Stake consensus algorithm. Given the importance of the event, many wondered how to celebrate The Merge on the blockchain in an immutable manner. In short, with its symbols and mascots, The Merge has become the topic of many NFTs!

Ethereum blockchain blocks become NFTs

The last block of Ethereum’s Proof-of-Work blockchain and the first block of Ethereum’s Proof-of-Stake blockchain have both become NFTs. Blockchains are immutable records of information grouped into blocks, which usually contain different numbers of transactions. Bitcoin’s blocks for example contain around 2000 transactions, whereas Ethereum’s blocks usually contain fewer, around 300 to 500.

The emerging NFT brand Vanity Blocks created the NFT of Ethereum’s latest blockchain Proof of Work.

The VanityBlocks project was created to allow users to fill a block on the Ethereum blockchain with a single transaction and turn it into an NFT. The NFT block then becomes the property of the person who processed the transaction. How much did it cost to turn the last block on Ethereum’s Proof-of-Work blockchain into an NFT? 30.5 ETH, about $45,000. Now the NFT can be purchased on the OpenSea marketplace. The current offer is 20 ETH, about $27,000. Within this NFT, the Vanity Blocks team decided to write a quote by US writer Terence McKenna: ‘Make a commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not crush you, but lift you up. That is the trick’. Probably a thought to emphasise the commitment and the enormous amount of innovation that went into the creation of The Merge!

Not only did the last block on Ethereum’s Proof-of-Work blockchain become an NFT but the same thing happened to the first block on the Proof-of-Stake blockchain. One user managed to make a transaction on the first Proof-of-Stake blockchain by paying as much as 36.8 Ethereum in gas fees. The latter are the fees each user pays to process transactions on a blockchain. Gas fees are generally not that expensive, on this occasion the figure was high because the blockchain was particularly congested, in other words very active. The NFT in question depicts a black page entitled ‘The Transition’ on which there is some information such as the chain ID, the blockchain number, the timestamp, i.e. all information and data related to the transaction itself, and on the right-hand side of the page a drawing of a panda.

The panda has become the symbol animal of The Merge on social networks. Even the search engine Google, within the widget for the countdown of The Merge, has inserted two teddy bears, one white and one black, running towards each other with the aim of becoming a panda once the update has taken place. The panda became a popular animal to narrate The Merge following the custom of representing ‘fusion’ through gestures in the Japanese cartoon Dragon Ball Z. Rather than Goku and Vegeta, all the memes depicting The Merge were represented by two bears, one white and one black. They would later fuse and give birth to the panda. The peculiarity of the NFT of the first Proof-of-Stake block is definitely the block number, 15537394 the one with which The Merge was activated!

Beeple’s digital artwork in honour of The Merge

All the most influential individuals and projects within the Web3 community paid tribute to The Merge. In addition to the so-called ‘insiders’, developers and founders of major crypto projects, digital artists also spoke out to celebrate this important event. Among the various works of art produced, those by Beeple certainly stand out. He is one of the first and most influential artists in the NFT field. Beeple has been creating at least one work of art a day for more than 10 years now. In 2020, he decided to turn his artwork into NFTs. The collection containing the first 5000 works, called Everydays, was sold in February 2021 for $69.4 million. There are two digital artworks related to The Merge that Beeple created to date. One is entitled ‘THE MERGE’ and depicts a huge reproduction of the Ethereum symbol under construction. The NFT of the Ethereum logo is constructed from a diamond-like material in purple. The symbol is located inside a kind of futuristic laboratory surrounded by two mechanical arms that appear to be in the process of completing it. This artwork probably represents the completion of the ‘merging’ process and the change of consensus algorithm.

The other digital artwork is called ‘PROOF OF STAKE’ and it depicts a large cyborg panda moving menacingly inside a mine populated by stones resembling the symbol of Ethereum. The two works maintain the classic characteristics of Beeple’s NFTs, so they are both set in a dystopian, psychedelic universe and give the viewer mixed emotions.

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