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With Ethereum’s long-anticipated Merge finally complete, the network’s miners may have already found a new home in Ethereum Classic. The original Ethereum chain saw its hash rate explode following Thursday’s monumental upgrade.
Inheriting Ethereum’s Miners
According to data from 2Miners, Ethereum Classic’s hashrate is now up to 305.65 terrahashes per second (TH/s). On late Wednesday, it stood at just 80 TH/s.
For context, 1 terrahash is equal to 1 000 000 000 000 hashes. These are guess answers generated by computer systems attempting to solve for Ethereum Classic’s next block. Doing so requires a vast amount of energy, which helps to secure the network.
This security mechanism – called proof of work – was used by the main Ethereum network until earlier today. It now uses proof of stake, which puts Ethereum’s security solely in the hands of ETH holders.
It’s also left miners out of a job, and looking for other proof of work crypto networks to secure with their leftover equipment. Given that their machines still support Ethereum Classic’s Ethash mining algorithm, the once abandoned chain was a natural pick.
Ethereum Classic has suffered from exceptionally weak security in the past, drifting as low as 2.9 TH/s in August 2020. This led to the chain being 51% attacked, meaning a powerful miner was able to reorganize the chain using overwhelming computing power. In more recent times, Cardano co-founder Charles Hoskinson has disparaged Ethereum Classic as a “dead project”.
However, the ETC has made a bit of a revival in recent weeks – in no small part due to Vitalik’s ‘endorsement’ of it in July. At the time, he called it a “fine” alternative to Ethereum for the network’s miners to use after the merge.
Impact on Other Coins
Similar increases were not observable with Bitcoin, however – the largest and most energy-intensive cryptocurrency. Its SHA-256 hashing algorithm is best addressed by specialized machines called ASICs, leaving Ethereum’s GPU miners unable to compete.
A new network inheriting hash rate is Ethereum PoW (ETHW) – an Ethereum fork dedicated to preserving Ethereum’s Proof of Work post-merge. While it is currently secured by over 65 TH/s, its price appears to have tanked to all-time lows shortly after its launch.