This upcoming July, Ethereum will celebrate its 5th birthday. The top public smart contracts platform has come a long way since its inception, and a major reminder of that progress came this week as the Ethereum blockchain reached its 10 millionth block.
Indeed, on Monday, May 4th, Ethereum miners — which will soon give way to stakers in the coming “Ethereum 2.0” roll out — reached the 10 million block milestone.
The milestone is an arbitrary one, to be sure — nothing technically special happened when Ethereum hit its 10 millionth block. Yet Ethereum stakeholders celebrated the round psychological number as a watershed moment because of what the occasion represented, namely how Ethereum is still going strong and how the community’s social contract has kept the blockchain and its ecosystem vital and rising to date.
Moreover, just because 10 million blocks is an arbitrary way post doesn’t mean very real and very impressive work hasn’t taken place to make it a reality.
For example, on Monday Luit Hollander of Ethereum wallet platform MyCrypto published a celebratory piece, “History of Ethereum Hard Forks,” and in it noted:
“Combined, these blocks were mined by computing over 15 zettahashes over the past 5 years. It would take a modern graphics card, like the GTX 1080 Ti, over 150 million years to do this.”
Of course, no single group deserves being lionized over others in the Ethereum ecosystem. However, it’s plainly an achievement that the project’s miners have brought it this far — far enough to hand the baton off to stakers when Ethereum pivots from proof-of-work (PoW) mining to proof-of-stake (PoS) staking in the coming weeks.
The forward progress comes as more than a few critics have argued along the way that Ethereum wouldn’t ever amount to much. The platform hasn’t just survived since the start, though — it’s thrived, and milestones are mounting up to prove it.
Ethereum Transactions Rise
Ethereum’s ascending block height isn’t the only source of optimism around the platform lately. For instance, the blockchain’s recently impressive transaction numbers have also generated intrigue.
Back in February, transactions on Ethereum plunged to their lowest levels on the year, but just a few months later things look quite different. Since the end of April 2020, Ethereum’s been powering in the range of 770,000 to 900,000 transactions. That kind of throughput hasn’t been seen since last summer.
The timeline of the fresh flurry of activity makes perfect sense, as the world’s markets have been volatile since “Black Thursday” on March 12th, when many crypto investors traded into stablecoins to weather financial uncertainty. In the ensuing weeks, buy pressure acutely picked up around ether (ETH), which kicked up extra usage, too.
Alas, the explosion of stablecoin adoption in 2020 combined with volatile markets has added to the activity, but these dynamics aren’t the whole picture, either. Transactions on Ethereum are likely on the rise due to many factors, including:
- Ethereum consolidating its moat over “Ethereum Killers”
- Promising progess on Ethereum 2.0
- Maturation of veteran dApps – e.g. the arrival of V2 and V3 systems
- Proliferation of newer dApps
- Early dominance in the decentralized finance (DeFi) arena
- Early dominance in rising niches like digital art and collectibles
Additionally, another area that’s a growing gravity well for Ethereum is the rise of the bitcoin-pegged Ethereum token sector. Bitcoin has been the king of the hill in the cryptoeconomy to date, so BTC being increasingly brought into Ethereum’s fold is mutualistic in making both Bitcoin and Ethereum more attractive and useful.
That’s a powerful X factor for the top smart contract platform. Sure, other projects can emulate what Ethereum does and has now, including tokenizing BTC. But the moat separating Ethereum from its top competitors is getting increasingly noticeable.