A few days ago, the Ethereum blockchain finally finalized its big update, called The Merge. Concocted for years, it takes the network from the consensus mechanism called proof of work or PoW to that of proof of stake or PoS.
This update allows, thanks to the new mechanism, to reduce the energy consumption of Ethereum by 99.95%. In addition to addressing environmental issues with the blockchain, this update will also allow the blockchain to have more scalability, which will allow more transactions to be handled.
Bad news for minors
But the Ethereum Merge is not good news for everyone. Indeed, the transition from proof of work to proof of stake puts an end to ETH mining. And besides, those who once used graphics cards for this activity no longer know what to do with this equipment.
Prior to the update, some media outlets had already seen a drop in GPU prices due to falling cryptocurrency values (less incentive for miners). And after the Ethereum Merge, it is possible that a new wave of graphics cards will be resold on the market.
Technically, Ethereum’s move to proof-of-stake does not end cryptocurrency mining with graphics cards. Those who used GPUs to mine Ethereum can turn to other cryptocurrencies compatible with their hardware.
Among these, there is the Ethereum Classic, a “hard fork” of Ethereum which made the separation in 2016. There is also Ravencoin as well as Ergo.
But the problem is that as this article is written, mining these cryptos would not be profitable. Or else the profits would be very small compared to what Ethereum mining was bringing in.
Alternatives exist, but they are less interesting
The whattomine.com site publishes a comparative table allowing you to have an estimate of the gains that you would have by mining various cryptos. And according to this, mining Ethereum Classic would generate a loss of $0.78 per hour today, considering that electricity costs $0.1 per kWh and that the hardware used is a set of three AMD RX 480s.
The PC Mag site, in an article, indicates that it carried out a small experiment, by mining Ravenvoin using an Nvidia RTX 3080. It would have generated only 0.13 dollars to 0.26 dollars per day, without taking into account account of the cost of electricity.
“With my energy cost, most coins seem unprofitable right now”also tells a minor quoted by the media.
Some have already declared the end of mining based on graphics cards.
Minors could wait for developments before making a decision. After all, a crypto compatible with graphics cards could gain popularity, which would make it profitable to mine.
But others are already planning to resell their equipment, which will delight fans of PC video games. “I will start selling the equipment soon. I have about 50 GPUs”says another miner quoted by PC Mag.