How long can Ethereum be mined, and where will the obsolete miners go?


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On September 21, Ethereum founder V God reposted a tweet saying that he “sleeps 7 to 8 hours a day”, and the next netizen replied: “No wonder Ethereum 2.0 hasn’t arrived.”

The two biggest changes in Ethereum 2.0 are the adoption of a “beacon chain + shard chain” structure, and the other is the transformation of the consensus mechanism from the current PoW to PoS. According to God V, “After the PoS consensus algorithm is implemented, Ethereum will be more secure than Bitcoin, and the cost of attack will be higher.”

The first change in the consensus mechanism is undoubtedly the Ethereum graphics miners. Some time ago, thanks to the explosion of the DeFi market, Ethereum mining has become a favorite in the eyes of many people. Both the number of people entering the market and the computing power of the entire network are growing rapidly. However, Ethereum 2.0 is like a sword of Damocles, because the PoS consensus mechanism does not require the current Ethereum graphics card miners.

So, the question is, how long can the golden mountain of Ethereum be dug? After the transformation to PoS, where will these Ethereum graphics card miners go?


Ethereum 2.0

At the beginning of the birth of Ethereum in 2015, the development team formulated a development roadmap for Ethereum for the next few years, including Frontier, Homestead, Metropolis, and Serenity. stage. Among them, the first three stages belong to the Ethereum 1.0 era, and the fourth stage “Secure” will allow Ethereum to slowly transition to the 2.0 era.

According to the currently announced roadmap, Ethereum 2.0 will include 3 stages:

Phase 0: PoS beacon chain

Phase 1: Data fragmentation, but does not include computational fragmentation (that is, the fragmentation chain will “include” data with a capacity of 2 MB/sec, but the data are all dummy data objects, not transactions)

Phase 2: Transaction fragmentation (fragmented transaction processing function)

The latest news is that on October 12, ConsenSys researcher and Ethereum 2.0 developer Ben Edgington issued a post saying that the creation of the Ethereum 2.0 beacon chain is expected to be realized within six weeks.

As for the recent popular rollup expansion technology, although Ethereum co-founder V God called on the community to pay attention to and use rollup many times, earlier this month he directly wrote an article detailing “If rollup is the future development center of Ethereum What kind of adjustments should be made to the roadmap of the Blockchain”, but he himself also frankly stated that the scalability of the Ethereum base layer still has a long way to go, and it is likely that the blockchain base layer will not be realized in many years. Expansion.

Ethereum 2.0 is technically much more complicated than 1.0, and each stage requires more time to develop, test, and update to launch. From the perspective of engineering volume, Ethereum 2.0 cannot be completed in a year or a half. As for how long it will take, no one (including V God) can give a clear time point.

In addition, the current Ethereum carries a lot of funds, contract applications, and also a lot of users. Every upgrade needs to take these into account. Therefore, the entire upgrade and migration process of Ethereum 2.0 will be very slow and cautious.

From the perspective of graphics card miners, there is no need to worry about the impact of Ethereum 2.0 on mining at present. According to the current mining revenue calculation, the static payback cycle of the Ethereum graphics card mining machine is generally about one year (subject to the greater influence of the Ethereum fee income), and the Ethereum will complete 2.0 within the next year Upgrading is almost impossible. According to the predictions of some senior miners in the circle, Ethereum 2.0 will take at least two more years.

There was a story on the Internet that was widely circulated in the circle before, saying:

If Ethereum 2.0 succeeds, the price of the coin will skyrocket, and miners will pay back in advance; if it fails, 1.0 will continue to mine. In any case, the miners are invincible.

Although this is a joke, it also shows that the safety mat of Ethereum miners is very high.

Even if the Ethereum 2.0 of the PoS consensus mechanism is launched, the 1.0 chain will still exist for a long time, and there will be a transition period of “dual chains running simultaneously”. Therefore, Ethereum miners don’t need to worry now.


If you can’t mine, where will the Ethereum miners go?

At present, the main force of the Ethereum mining machine is the graphics card mining machine, which mainly relies on GPU for mining. If it comes to the stage where Ethereum 2.0 is online and running stably, 1.0 is unlikely to generate blocks due to the difficulty bomb, these graphics card miners also have other places:

The first place to go is to mine other currencies. One of the benefits of graphics card mining machines is that there are many coins that can be mined. Many small mining coin project parties also welcome the participation of graphics card mining machines, because the more computing power added, the higher the cost of 51% attacks. The security of the chain is higher.

Not long ago, there were more 51% attacks on ETC (Ethereum Classic), and block reorganization had to be carried out afterwards. Due to frequent 51% attacks, some exchanges have stopped ETC deposits, while other exchanges have increased the deposit time to 10,000 block confirmations, which greatly affects the user experience.

ETC and ETH were originally one family, and both used the Ethash algorithm. However, ETC’s entire network computing power is now less than 2% of ETH’s computing power. At present, ETC has no plans to upgrade to the PoS consensus mechanism in the future. Therefore, after Ethereum graphics card miners cannot mine ETH, they can expect a considerable amount of computing power to mine ETC.

In addition to ETC, graphics card miners can also mine Grin, BEAM, CKB, RVN, XMR, BTG, AION and other currencies. In addition, the blockchain industry is developing very rapidly, with many new projects being born every year, and there will be other new projects that adopt the PoW consensus mechanism in the future.

Ethereum’s current network computing power is about 249.65TH/s. According to an average computing power of 300MH/s per graphics card mining machine, there are about 800,000 graphics card mining machines in the entire network. Other small mining coins currently cannot fully accommodate so many mining machines and computing power, which will inevitably make some graphics card mining machines withdraw from the mining market.

Graphics card miners that withdrew from the mining market, selling their residual value after disassembly is the second place to go. After two years of digging for general-purpose graphics cards, the residual value rate is about 30% of the market price of new graphics cards. These graphics cards can be sold to the consumer market and sold to gamers, image processing companies, etc.; while custom graphics cards (commonly known as “mining cards”) , Castration of many output interfaces and unnecessary functions), the residual value rate is very low.

Therefore, it is best for miners who are going to enter Ethereum mining now to choose general-purpose graphics cards.



Ethereum 2.0 is like a sword of Damocles, but the current Ethereum miners don’t have to consider this risk at all, because the current graphics card miners’ static return cycle generally takes about a year, while Ethereum 2.0 has to go through many Each stage has a huge amount of work, and it is almost impossible to complete within the next year.

Of course, if it is really impossible to mine Ethereum, these graphics card miners can also choose to mine other currencies, or sell the residual value to exit the mining market. In order to sell a higher residual value, miners who are going to enter Ethereum mining now are recommended to choose general-purpose graphics cards.