I hope everyone had a good summer. Let’s start with the data and stay with it a bit longer than normal before we go to the narrative.

  1. Total ETH staked 14,710,982 ETH
  2. Total validators 434,898
  3. Current APR  4%

As of 15-September at 06:46:46 UTC, at Ethereum block height 15,537,393, the final PoW mined block was produced, and the PoS Beacon Chain took over chain consensus. The Ethereum Merge was successful.

The glib chat about a 99.9% energy reduction in the network, does not give enough credit to the Ethereum Mean and Median block times. Glassnodes’ beautiful graph shows the end of the probabilistic, and variable PoW mining era and the switch to a reliable and predictable PoS world, which manifests as a consistent 12-second blocktime.

Glassnodes has also done the hard work of summarising the things we need to now think about when we think about Ethereum as a PoS network rather than a PoW network.  Here are the headline data labels.

New PoS Metrics:

  • Block Production: Slot Height, Epoch Height, Missed Blocks, Orphaned Blocks
  • Network Stability: Participation Rate, Attestation Count
  • Validator Movement: Voluntary Exit Count, Active Validators, Slashing Event Count
  • Validator Balances: Total Effective Balance, Stake Effectiveness, Average Validator Balance, Staking Deposits
  • Validator Economics: Estimated Annual Issuance ROI per validator ,Estimated Annual Issuance

This is dry stuff but worth investigating/googling and understanding as solo stakers.

We Didn’t Start the Fire, it was always burning since the world’s been turning

Ethereum’s Merge took place in the midst of a broader market meltdown of financial assets. More importantly and more worryingly it took place amidst a real economic crisis for real people across the world in the form of increasing food and energy prices and borrowing costs, with interest rates rising across the world. I state these obvious facts because it’s time to be optimistic against the run of these events and against the fact that as Ukraine wins back more territory and liberates its country and people, it increases the likelihood that a despotic man deploys a nuclear weapon over the black sea moving the chaos monkey from being in a garden to being in a house with a firework and a lighter. 

In March 2003, 3 years after the dotcom bubble burst US and UK invaded Iraq for no legitimate reason. 5 years later in 2008 the first dose of cheap money put into the economy from 2001 turned to poison in the form of risky subprime mortgages. Whose risk was meant to be reduced by sophisticated re-packaging by socially minded folks at RBS and Lehman Brothers. The collapse in the moral authority of hyper financialisation that followed, and the mistrust of mainstream politics are surely not reasons to be optimistic, Jaydeep?

Well yes, viewed through that lens maybe not, but there is another way to look at it.  While less than 7% of the world was online in 2000, today over half the global population has access to the internet.

Similar trends can be seen in cellphone use. At the start of the 2000s, there were 740 million cell phone subscriptions worldwide. Two decades later, that number has surpassed 8 billion, meaning there are now more cellphones in the world than people. Social media, whatsapp, netflix, graphene, finding higgs the list goes on – all achievements with commensurate problems but achievements nonetheless. 

The very concept of a Blockchains or as I like to call them Shared databases are also achievements of a world that post 2008 wanted to see and understand transactions and the logic associated with those transactions transparently not hidden exclusively in the ephemeral “markets,” or inside big tech. As the SEC looks to regulate Ethereum as well they should. The SEC should remember what they are regulating is America and the world’s progress in understanding that tech and finance always probably were but now are definitely  the same thing.  

If you are reading this you likely make things or work in, use, or build technology and for me your choice to be optimistic is vital. Because Atlas never has and never will Shrug.  The Jenny and John Galt’s of this world create nappies from waste material and Whatsapp, Wechat and Mrna vaccines and graphene based cement. Whilst they did not “start the fire” whilst the world continues to turn and burn, they will always be here, doing useful shit to make things better.     

At an emotional level the analogy would be when Man City beat Man Utd on October 2nd as I sadly predicted they would, I am not going to be too sad as we won the second half and scored 3 goals. Much more tragically if we do get a nuclear strike for Christmas, I must remember storms pass and building stuff and a positive attitude will be our sword and shield respectively.

Post Merge

Continuing the theme of positives. Vitalik’ s diagram below highlights what happens post Merge and what these things actually mean ‘Surge, Verge, Purge, and Splurge.

Surge

The surge refers to the addition of Ethereum sharding, a scaling solution which will further enable cheap layer-2 blockchains, lower the cost of rollups or bundled transactions, and make it easier for users to operate validator nodes like you do today that secure the Ethereum network. Once the surge is complete, the Ethereum network will process transactions faster.

Verge

The verge will implement “Verkle trees” a type of mathematical proof and “stateless clients.” These technical upgrades will allow users to become network validators without having to store extensive amounts of data. Geth is an execution client. Historically, running an execution client alone was enough to turn a computer into a full Ethereum node. However, since The Merge, Geth has not been able to track the Ethereum chain on its own. Instead, it needs to be coupled to another piece of software called a “consensus client”. The execution client is responsible for transaction handling, transaction gossip, state management and the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). However, Geth is no longer responsible for block proposals or handling consensus logic. These are in the remit of the consensus client.

Purge

The purge is again about reducing the amount of space you have to have on your hard drive, trying to simplify the Ethereum protocol over time and not requiring nodes to store history. If you asked me here for a simple explanation of what the difference here is between a stateless ethereum and exactly what is happening in the Purge I would select ‘call a friend’.  However in simple terms reducing storage requirements increases the opportunity for participation by lowering costs = smiley face.

Splurge

Basically everyone is taking mushrooms at this stage as far as I can tell. Or if Bloomberg asks me, no comment.

Ethereum the movie

This functionality is soooo hard to deliver, and Ethereum the movie when it comes out will explain why so I will not bore you with the details of how hyperscale software up to this point has been built and what an incredible divergence this is. 

Ethereum raises the bar for what blockchains have to do from a software perspective to be credible. I don’t know if it will  encourage others to reduce the size of their PR teams and increase the size of their engineering and product teams but it really should.

Next week I will try and write about our current UK economic poop show/neo-liberal experiment and what it means for ETH and BTC.

Amazon in 2001 was what Ethereum is today. Like Amazon it will change everything, chin up!