The Ethereum Merge refers to the transition of the Ethereum blockchain from a proof-of-work (PoW) consensus mechanism to a more energy-efficient proof-of-stake (PoS) system. This migration of Ethereum to Ethereum 2.0 is being implemented gradually across multiple phases, the first being the launch of the Beacon Chain to introduce staking.
The Merge represents the official switch when the existing Ethereum Mainnet merged with the new PoS Beacon Chain. This joined the network’s transaction processing capabilities with the staking system to complete the move to PoS. Now, Ethereum is secured through staked Ether tokens instead of mining.
By replacing PoW with PoS, the Merge aims to make Ethereum more scalable, secure and sustainable. It enables the network to validate transactions with greatly reduced energy consumption while still leveraging the full transaction history of Ethereum. The native Ether tokens remain unchanged for users, providing continuity for decentralized applications.