What Is Ethereum’s Merge, and How Does It Affect Your NFTs?

Here’s what you need to know about The Merge and the impact it will have on the blockchain and cryptoart.

Ethereum: The Merge. Illustration by Viktor Hachmang
Illustration by Viktor Hachmang, courtesy of Ethereum.org

What Is The Merge?

The Ethereum Foundation has a great resource explaining The Merge, from which we quote here:

“The Merge represents the joining of the existing execution layer of Ethereum (the Mainnet we use today) with its new proof-of-stake consensus layer, the Beacon Chain. It eliminates the need for energy-intensive mining and instead secures the network using staked ETH. A truly exciting step in realizing the Ethereum vision — more scalability, security, and sustainability.

“Once The Merge happens, Ethereum will continue on as it’s worked before. To the average user, everything will be the same.”

The Merge day ETH by Limbo Mask
The Merge day ETH by Limbo Mask

Will There Be Two Chains after The Merge?

Some Ethereum node operators may no longer follow the post-merge Ethereum, resulting in a chain split and the creation of a new chain for proof-of-work Ethereum. Neither 1stDibs nor any major platform or infrastructure provider will follow a PoW Ethereum chain.

Are Your NFTs Safe?

Absolutely. Regular users are in no danger of losing their NFTs or having their NFTs somehow duplicate. All major wallet providers have committed to following the merged Ethereum chain, so after The Merge, you can continue to use your wallet as you did before.

If there is a PoW Ethereum, it won’t be regarded as the canonical chain (and will likely be valued at far less). As long as you don’t interact with an alternative PoW Ethereum chain, your NFTs will be completely safe.

Happy Indepenmerge Day by Moxarra González

From the Ethereum Foundation (emphasis 1stDibs’):

“As a user or holder of ETH or any other digital asset on Ethereum, as well as non-node-operating stakers, you do not need to do anything with your funds or wallet before The Merge.

“Despite swapping out proof-of-work, the entire history of Ethereum since genesis remains intact and unaltered after the transition to proof-of-stake. Any funds held in your wallet before The Merge will still be accessible after The Merge. No action is required to upgrade on your part.”

How Is 1stDibs Handling The Merge?

1stDibs will follow the canonical (i.e., “merged”) Ethereum blockchain. Otherwise, everything should continue as normal. You may want to refrain from interacting with the Ethereum blockchain around the time of The Merge, which is estimated to take place around 12:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, on Thursday, September 15.

Update: September 19, 2022: The Merge occurred on September 15 just before 3:00 a.m. EDT with only minor disruptions. The price of ETH remained stable the following day, dipping just 5 percent from its level at the time of The Merge transition.

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