Since the Merge, Ethereum has undergone significant changes, starting with the implementation of the London hard fork. One key development introduced by this upgrade is the fee-burning mechanism. Under this mechanism, transaction base fees are burned immediately after a transaction is processed. This move was aimed at making Ether deflationary, as it permanently removes some tokens from circulation. As a result, Ethereum’s supply has decreased by 0.25% since the Merge took place.
The Merge also marked a transition from the proof-of-work (PoW) consensus to proof-of-stake (PoS). This change has led to a fundamental shift in the way the Ethereum network is secured. Instead of relying on miners, validators now play a crucial role in securing the network. Validators stake their ETH to participate in the process and earn passive income in return. So far, over 11.6 million ETH has been staked since the Merge, indicating a strong demand for participation in securing the Ethereum network.
Since the Merge, the number of validators on the Ethereum network has significantly increased. A total of 362,000 new validators have joined the network to contribute to its security and functionality. This surge in validator participation demonstrates growing confidence in the PoS consensus and the Ethereum ecosystem as a whole.
Among the top stakers in the Ethereum network, Lido DAO, a popular staking platform, holds the largest market share of 22.64%. This is followed by prominent cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase, Binance, and Kraken. The involvement of these major players further strengthens the security and credibility of the Ethereum network.
In terms of price performance, Ethereum has seen an overall increase of around 11% over the past year. While this may seem modest compared to its previous all-time high of $4,891, it is important to note the context of the current bear market conditions. Despite the market downturn, Ethereum has managed to maintain and even enhance its value since the Merge.
One notable effect of the Merge is the decrease in Ethereum’s annual inflation rate. With the transition to PoS and the fee-burning mechanism, the inflation rate of ETH has decreased. This improvement in the token’s economic model adds to its appeal as a deflationary asset.
Additionally, there has been a significant increase in trading activity on Ethereum’s layer-2 chains. This suggests that more users are joining the Ethereum ecosystem and utilizing its scalability solutions. The growing adoption and utilization of layer-2 solutions contribute to the overall health and stability of the Ethereum ecosystem.
Ethereum’s growing importance and influence in the financial world is evidenced by the interest shown by traditional financial (TradFi) institutions. Cathie Wood’s ARK Invest, a renowned investment firm, recently filed to offer an Ethereum Spot ETF, marking a milestone in the acceptance and recognition of Ethereum as a legitimate investment option. Several other institutions have also filed to offer Ethereum futures ETFs, further indicating the growing institutional interest in the Ethereum ecosystem.
The Merge has ushered in a year of significant changes for Ethereum. From the implementation of the London hard fork and the fee-burning mechanism to the transition to PoS and the rise in validator participation, Ethereum has evolved and improved on multiple fronts. Despite the modest price performance in the midst of a bear market, Ethereum’s fundamentals remain strong, with decreased inflation, increased trading activity, and growing interest from traditional financial institutions. As Ethereum continues to mature, its position as a leading cryptocurrency and blockchain platform appears to be solidifying.