The Merge is exciting in the same way a new series of Love Island or Obama becoming President is exciting. However, like both those things, the day after it happens it’s important to think about what is really going to change.
Day 1 Gas fees and transaction speed won’t change! Does this mean you should sell and go and buy SOL? No. The upgrade will enable sharding, which “spreads the network’s load across 64 new chains” and allows Ethereum to scale.
Teddy Oosterbaan (Coindesk) also points out that after the Merge there won’t be miners, but there will still be Maximal extractable Value (MEV). Ethereum will therefore remain subject to transaction ordering by those looking to extract value from liquidations, frontrunning and arbitrage.
You should still be excited, and building useful working software is very hard. Doing the Merge through a decentralised engineering team and without a boss or anybody in charge is an amazing new engineering construct/ pure super hero stuff.
Non custodial staking is important
Not because of the expression “not your keys, not your Eth”, but because truly non custodial staking means that you – as our customer – are learning to run and support the Ethereum network. We are helping you, but you are doing it yourself, you are not dependent on our user interface or on logging into our portal. I want to make it as easy as possible for people to stake, both in terms of the capital requirement and the user experience, and it now takes a mere 15 minutes to set up and run a Validator node (not including synching to mainnet).
What I do not want is our customers to have an unreasonable dependency on Launchnodes regarding their nodes, or to take away your ownership of your nodes by building an interface that makes it “easy” but moves you further away from your box and your Ether.
This is not a dig at our competitors who do this and make staking a simple act of buying a financial outcome, it’s more just making the case that our cake is organic. I do not want to put anything in it that creates a distance between you and your nodes, hence our 100% transparency on everything we do for you, our software and our process. We lose retail customers sometimes because of this, but you only get to lose your principles once.
Staking for everyone
Institutional clients prefer our approach and that will only grow, but I want everyone to be able to stake. In 10 years, having your own node or share of a node, could end up being an extremely big deal, not simply because of the financial returns but because your node and its transaction history could have value in a secondary market, or could be viewed as a bank in a box, or give you a voting right on the most important network in the world behind the internet.
I wish I could tell you with certainty what direct node ownership will mean in the future, but I can’t. What i feel confident about is that it is going to be an extraordinary ride.