Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency after bitcoin, has seen its price surge higher in recent weeks as excitement builds ahead of a long-waited, radical upgrade.
The ethereum price is up almost 50% over the last month, topping $1,600 per ether, and leaving the bitcoin price and other top ten cryptocurrencies BNB BNB , XRP XRP , solana, cardano and dogecoin in the dust even as research shows markets could be close to “full capitulation.”
Now, ethereum cofounder and the project’s spiritual leader Vitalik Buterin has revealed his plans for ethereum following the “merge” upgrade—with the “surge” next in a series of improvements designed to make the network more secure and decentralized.
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“At the end of this road map, ethereum will be a much more scalable system,” Buterin said in comments reported by Fortune, speaking at the Ethereum Community Conference in France and outlining a plan that includes the surge, verge, purge and splurge upgrades. “By the end, ethereum will be able to process 100,000 transactions per second.”
The surge upgrade is expected to increase scalability for “shadow chain” rollups—a way to scale ethereum by making transactions cheaper—through sharding; dividing transactions across several different chains in a way that’s designed to decrease fees and speed up transactions.
The following verge upgrade will try to optimize ethereum storage and reduce node size, while the purge will involve removing some network history.
“The purge: trying to actually cut down the amount of space you have to have on your hard drive, trying to simplify the ethereum protocol over time and not requiring nodes to store history,” Buterin said in comments reported by Decrypt, adding the splurge upgrade will be “all of the other fun stuff.”
According to Buterin, ethereum development is currently just 40% complete, compared to bitcoin’s 80%. After ethereum’s merge upgrade, penciled in for September, Buterin thinks ethereum will still only be around 55% complete.
Ethereum’s looming merge upgrade will see the network move from proof-of-work, the validation model used by bitcoin, to proof-of-stake—expected to help the network run more efficiently and use less electricity. After the transition to proof-of-stake, ethereum holders will instead “stake” their coins to confirm transactions, rather than so-called miners securing the network in exchange for ether.
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“Proof-of-stake is much more secure than proof-of-work, but it does have its tradeoffs,” said Buterin, pointing to weak subjectivity.
Last year, ethereum began to become deflationary, with more coins being “burnt” than are distributed to so-called miners who verify transactions on the blockchain.
Speaking at the conference, Buterin said ethereum will further change its monetary policy following the merge upgrade, with the annual issuance of its ether expected to be cut by as much as 90%.
“In all cases, [merge] decreases the amount of ether issued by a lot,” Buterin said. “It’s not a fixed amount of issuance anymore, but it is much lower than it used to be. So in this way, the monetary policy is changing.”