Why it matters: PC gamers have long awaited the day when cryptocurrency Ethereum switches to proof-of-stake, which would theoretically end the use of high-end GPUs to mine it and hopefully loosen their supply for gamers. An Ethereum developer confirmed this week that the wait for “The Merge” will be a little longer.
Ethereum developer Tim Beiko recently tweeted that the cryptocurrency won’t be moving to proof-of-stake in June as expected. Despite the delay of a few months, he maintains that the switch is nearing.
Ethereum’s current proof-of-work model has made GPUs its primary mining tool. This has pushed up the demand for them and exacerbated the global semiconductor crisis’ effect on their prices. During the worst of it last year, some GPUs were going for over double their MSRP.
It won’t be June, but likely in the few months after. No firm date yet, but we’re definitely in the final chapter of PoW on Ethereum
— Tim Beiko | timbeiko.eth “🧱 (@TimBeiko) April 12, 2022
In what is hopefully a sign of the crisis’s end, Beiko on Twitter discouraged buying more mining equipment. In another good sign for the GPU market, Ethereum’s value since the beginning of 2022 has dropped significantly from its peak last November.
In March, GPU prices looked much better than late last year, sinking more than 10 percent from this February, while Nvidia is trying to build hype around its attempt to rally supply. Graphics cards aren’t back down to MSRP yet, but if things continue in this direction, they can be this year.
Who knows what the market will look like by the time Intel’s first line of desktop GPUs, AMD’s RDNA 3 series, and Nvidia’s RTX 4000 cards arrive later this year. Hopefully proof-of-stake will have arrived as well.