Last week, Chandler Guo, a prolific crypto miner and angel investor, posted a short screen recording of a WeChat group chat where members presumably discussed the possibility of forking Ethereum blockchain. “Ethpow will coming soon,” the video’s caption reads.
The Merge, which is set to take place sometime during the week of September 19, will switch the network from a proof-of-work to a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism. The transition is expected to reduce Ethereum’s energy consumption by at least 99.95%, as miners would be replaced by the network validators who have staked enough ETH to confirm transactions on the network. Such an upgrade will make obsolete specialized mining hardware that cost many miners a fortune, hence a lot of them do not support the idea of the Merge.
Being aware of the fact that the PoS transition is vastly unpopular among miners, Ethereum devs have agreed on including the special code that would disincentivize miners from participating in the validation process after the Merge. Known as a difficulty bomb, it will exponentially increase mining difficulty, effectively making it unprofitable to mine Ether.
While miners can’t postpone the Merge, they can create their own version of Ethereum by forking the blockchain, an outcome supported by Chandler Guo. However, it’s unclear whether they would be able to attract anyone to their ecosystem.
Another argument against the new fork is that Ethereum Classic, a 2016 PoW fork of the blockchain, already exists. So far, this chain is the most popular among Ethereum miners looking for a PoW alternative to migrate from Ethereum. Recently, the Ethereum Classic ecosystem attracted a $10m investment from Bitmain’s subsidiary AntPool.
However, Guo doesn’t seem to be bothered by the fact that the PoW fork of Ethereum already exists.
“I fork Ethereum once, I will fork it again,” Guo tweeted on June 27, recalling his participation in forking the blockchain in 2016.