Ethereum’s London hard fork upgrade that went into effect this past week sets the cryptocurrency up well for important upgrades in the future, its founder Vitalik Buterin told Bloomberg in an interview on Thursday.
The London hard fork upgrade to ethereum’s blockchain included EIP-1599, a fee-reduction feature that has been burning $8,900 worth of ether every minute since it went into effect. That ongoing reduction in the supply of ether is likely aiding to its recent price gains, with the cryptocurrency up 18% since the London fork went into effect.
“1599 is definitely the most important part of London,” Buterin told Bloomberg, adding that the upgrade is “proof that the ethereum ecosystem is able to make significant changes.” That’s in stark contrast to bitcoin, which is so decentralized that changes to its blockchain network are incredibly difficult.
The ethereum blockchain still has big changes ahead, most notably its transition to a proof-of-stake-system from a proof-of-work system. That change, which is expected to go into effect in the ETH 2.0 network overhaul, will reduce carbon emissions related to the mining of ether by 99%, according to Buterin.
A proof-of-work system relies on a network of computers around the world constantly running to solve complex problems to support and validate the blockchain. A proof-of-stake platform, which does not incentivize heavy energy consumption, lets users put up their own tokens as collateral to support the blockchain network.
Buterin expects “the merge” to ETH 2.0 to take place in early 2022, but it could come as early as late 2021, according to the interview.
The London hard fork “definitely makes me more confident about the merge,” Buterin told Bloomberg, adding that the transition to a proof-of-stake system would eventually change the economics of ether, like capping the total amount of ether supply, similar to bitcoin’s 21 million coin limit.
There is a total circulating supply of 116,996,930 ether coin, according to data from CoinMarketCap.