Do you hear that noise? They are the winds of change blowing towards Ethereum and, once they have passed through the cryptocurrency network, most of the demand for the best graphics cards, or cap the graphics card will really shift to gaming, not mining. Or so it is with hope.
This is good news (for players). The bad news is that this won't happen overnight, or probably even this year. There are two major updates to Ethereum, the first of which is called London Hard Fork. Ethereum developer Tim Beiko has confirmed on Twitter that this will be published on August 4, 2021, which is now less than four weeks away.
London's hard fork is a forerunner of the Ethereum 2.0 update that should have a more significant impact on GPU shortages (fingers crossed, anyway). It consists of five proposals for improving Ethernet (EIP), and how CoinDesk notes, the most prominent being EIP 1559 and EIP 3554.
EIP 1559 changes the commission structure by introducing a minimum commission on all chain transactions. As things stand today, users set transaction fees, which are then accepted by the miners. But this is replaced by a new "base rate" that automatically sets the Ethereum protocol, which is removed or burned from the network instead of being rewarded by miners.
The bottom line is that this key change can reduce miners' incomes. As you can imagine, not everyone is expecting this change, although much is being done to make Ethereum less volatile.
"While we believe that (EIP 1559) will provide better predictability for the inclusion of transactions, we believe that charging fees is a bad idea, as we believe that many transactions that require extended IT resources for execution smart contract … will no longer be compensated, ”Slava Karpenko, chief technology officer at Ethereum 2Miners mining pool, told CoinDesk.
EIP 3554meanwhile, it is called "difficulty pump delay" and refers to when Ethereum removal will be much more difficult with the aforementioned Ethereum 2.0 update. Except for another delay, it is now scheduled to take place on December 1, 2021.
As gamers, this change is what we expect, because it could end up with graphics card mining. Maybe not at all, but Ethereum is the largest cryptocurrency still mined with a GPU, rather than specialized ASIC hardware, which is predominantly used for currencies like Bitcoin.
This involves a shift from the so-called working test model, in which mining requires a lot of computing power to change transactions and generate a new ether, to a participatory test model. This means that the network itself will verify transactions (or blocks) according to a miner’s existing stake in Ethereum.
When that happens, it's conceivable (very likely, even) that a large number of Ethereum miners will stop giving up and sell their GPUs. There is still a major industrial shortage of silicon affecting the global supply of graphics cards, but used cards flooding sites like eBay and Craigslist, along with a reduction in demand for new GPUs for mining, should help the situation.
The delay to December 1, however, means that GPUs are likely to be scarce for the rest of the year. Best of all, it looks like GPUs will be a little easier to boot in early 2022, which is another time bomb delay. Or (and this is not the case), another GPU-powered cryptocurrency is becoming very popular instead of Ethereum.