Ethereum: Google’s countdown to the Merge
Ethereum: Google’s countdown to the Merge

Ethereum: Google’s countdown to the Merge

By Marco Cavicchioli - 12 Sep 2022

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In its original English version, Google has activated a countdown for the Ethereum Merge

Google adds countdown for the Ethereum Merge

Indeed, searching for “ethereum merge” some English-language users of the famous search engine are shown a countdown as the first result that reveals the time still remaining for the Merge, the difficulty level reached, the current hashrate of ETH mining, and the difficulty level at which the Merge will take place. 

Indeed, the Ethereum Merge is a momentous event, not only for the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency, but also for the entire crypto industry. 

Google has long been interested in technological developments related to blockchain and cryptocurrencies, so it is not at all surprising that it has decided to show those who search “ethereum merge” in the English language a countdown that reveals an estimate of the time until it happens. 

There is no exact date planned for the Merge, but there is a precise level of difficulty: 58750000 P. This level could be reached before or after 15 September depending on how much hashrate is used by ETH miners in the meantime. 

The more miners use hashrate to mine ETH these days, the sooner that difficulty level will be reached. On the other hand, if they were to reduce the hashrate, the upgrade might be reached a little later. 

The fact is that after the Merge it will no longer be possible to mine ETH, so Ethereum miners will have to either shut down their machines, or move them to other similar cryptocurrencies still based on PoW, such as Ethereum Classic. 

It should be noted that Ethereum’s hashrate has remained essentially stable over the past few months, but as of 5 September, it appears to be declining slightly. This small decline may be due precisely to the expectations of miners with respect to the Merge, as many are already moving to other cryptocurrencies. 

Miners’ attention shifts to Ethereum Classic (ETC) and Bitcoin (BTC)

In fact, since the second half of July, there has been a real surge in the hashrate of Ethereum Classic (ETC), which has reached new all-time highs and continues to rise. It has now been making new all-time highs almost every day since mid-August, which gives a good idea of the fact that several Ethereum miners have already moved their machines from mining ETH to mining ETC. 

The closer the Merge gets, the more this phenomenon intensifies, so it is possible that in the next two or three days the estimate regarding the exact moment when the difficulty level of 58750000 P will be reached, automatically triggering the Merge, will expand a bit. 

The latest estimate available states that it should occur on 15 September at 4:37 AM UTC time. 

It is also worth noting that there has been a slight growth in the hashrate of Bitcoin since 4 September. Although the machines used to mine ETH are not suitable for BTC mining, it is nevertheless possible that some miners have shifted their machine refurbishment funds from Ethereum to Bitcoin mining. 

Indeed, mining machines age relatively quickly, and every so often they need to be replaced with more efficient machines. For example, in the past two or three years, new machines have landed on the market that are significantly more efficient, and many miners have been forced to replace previous, less efficient machines in order to continue to remain competitive

Mining is a competition, so if other miners increase their hashrate, those who do not will inevitably end up grossing less. 

Given that during 2022 it was extremely unlikely that there would have been any major investments in Ethereum mining, in view of the Merge that will eliminate it, it is possible that some of the investment by ETH miners this year could have been used to buy new machines to mine BTC or ETC. 

countdown ethereum merge
When the Merge is triggered, the miners will move to other PoW cryptocurrencies, such as BTC and ETC

Google’s commitment to the development of blockchain technology

One very interesting thing is that the Twitter profile that unveiled the Google countdown is that of Sam Padilla, i.e., a Google developer. 

His profile reads: 

“Building the future of blockchain infra Google Cloud. Rethinking democracy and community ATX DAO.”

This further emphasizes, if there was a further need, how closely Google is following developments in crypto and blockchain technologies. 

In fact, it was revealed in August that parent company Alphabet (formerly Google) has already invested $1.5 billion in blockchain companies

According to BlockData, it would be by far the company that has invested the most in the sector. Among the blockchain companies it has invested in are Fireblocks, Dapper Labs, Voltage, and Digital Currency Group.

Dapper Labs, for example, is a company that works with the NBA on NFT projects, while Digital Currency Group is a veritable crypto giant, owning in turn Grayscale Investments, Luno and CoinDesk, as well as other crypto companies.

In August, former CEO of Google Eric Schmidt, who previously stated his skepticism about the metaverse, had reiterated his enthusiasm for the technological revolution generated by Bitcoin. 

It is worth mentioning that at Google, or Alphabet for that matter, they do not seem to be very interested in the financial aspects of cryptocurrencies. Instead, they seem to be much more interested in the technological aspects of the underlying networks, protocols and blockchain. 

Therefore, this is a sincere and deep interest, not related to market volatility, but to the technological revolution that began on 31 October 2008 with the publication of Satoshi Nakamoto’s celebrated whitepaper. 

The Bitcoin revolution and the technology behind the world’s first cryptocurrency

One thing that unfortunately many people underestimate is that when the first cryptocurrency – namely Bitcoin – made its debut on the Internet its market value was literally zero, and it remained so for more than a year and a half. 

The first 50 BTC were created by Nakamoto on 3 January 2009, but until August 2010 there was no way to exchange them freely online for fiat currency, i.e., dollars. 

Bitcoin, therefore, did not start out as a financial revolution, but as a technology revolution, and it became a financial revolution only later because of its enormous volatility. 

It is enough to note that the price of BTC at its debut on the crypto markets in August 2010 was about $0.06, but by the end of the year, it was already trading at $0.3. In other words, after only five months on the crypto markets, its value had already increased by 400%

The following year closed it at $4.5, up another +1,400%, while 2012 closed at $13.5, a further +200%. In November of that year there was the first halving, and the following year the first gigantic post-halving speculative bubble that sent the price soaring to $1,100, which was an incredible 8,000% gain in a single year

With such numbers, it is more than obvious that the purely financial aspects in those years ended up completely outclassing the technological ones, although in reality the real revolution of Bitcoin and blockchain still remains primarily a technological revolution, and only secondarily a financial one. 

Although there are few people left, percentage-wise, who are more interested in Bitcoin’s technological revolution than in the financial one, at Google it seems that they have decided to proceed down this path, without getting caught up too much in the excitement over the market performance. 

Marco Cavicchioli

Born in 1975, Marco has been the first to talk about Bitcoin on YouTube in Italy. He founded and the Facebook group" Bitcoin Italia (open and without scam) ".

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