Ethereum’s Move From Proof-of-Work Essential for the Network, Crypto Exec Says

Brian Norton, chief operations officer of MyEtherWallet, joined CoinDesk TV’s “First Mover” to discuss the blockchain’s upcoming software update.

AccessTimeIconAug 10, 2022 at 8:25 p.m. UTC
Updated Apr 10, 2024 at 2:17 a.m. UTC
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The Ethereum blockchain’s transition away from its proof-of-work (PoW) mechanism is necessary for the network to expand, according to Brian Norton, chief operations officer of MyEtherWallet, an app where investors can store their ether, which is Ethereum’s native token.

Norton said on CoinDesk TV’s “First Mover” show on Tuesday that Ethereum’s ability to sustain its growth with the PoW consensus mechanism is “not going to be tenable” and said the method isn’t energy efficient.

“In order for Ethereum to move with the ecosystem and continue to be the leader and remain true to its principles of being open and permissionless, a transition out of proof-of-work is absolutely going to be essential,” Norton said.

Norton’s comments come as Ethereum prepares to switch to a proof-of-stake (PoS) method of maintaining its network and validating transactions with a software update known as the Merge.

According to developers, the proof-of-stake mechanism is more efficient and cheaper than proof-of-work.

Norton says the update may be pushed “further down the road,” perhaps until next year if the Merge doesn’t go as planned. It is supposed to go live next month.

As the Merge approaches, Norton said institutional adoption will likely increase, especially if users begin to better understand what the change will mean for the blockchain.

Institutional investors now appear to be bullish about the Merge, piling into ETH-based funds, Norton said, but if the Merge takes longer than expected, users and investors could grow “restless” and pull out.

Norton said the Merge will “provide users a sharp contrast” between PoW and PoS, and could even affect bitcoin (BTC).

“Now you have another potentially deflationary asset in the crypto space that is more energy efficient and has more use cases,” Norton said of ether.

The Bitcoin network, on the other hand, has been designed for the exchange of its native token, which could resonate more with users who view the token as a store of value.

Norton said that “most users are not going to see a thing” following the Merge but that the price of ether will likely surge as it has done this summer.


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Fran Velasquez

Fran is CoinDesk's TV writer and reporter.