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Mark Cuban is ‘very bullish’ on the upcoming Ethereum ‘merge.’ Here’s why he says the upgrade is so important for the cryptocurrency

April 5, 2022, 8:24 PM UTC

Investors await as the world’s most-used blockchain nears a massive upgrade that will change its infrastructure and make it more green. One of them is billionaire and noted crypto supporter Mark Cuban.

In what’s called the “merge,” Ethereum plans to shift from a proof-of-work model to proof of stake. Though the timeline isn’t confirmed yet, developers predict that the merge will happen this summer.

After the merge, Ethereum’s crypto mining would become obsolete, which would substantially reduce Ethereum’s environmental impact. The supply of new Ether would also likely decline, because fewer coins are expected to be issued. Additionally, blockchain security against potential attack is supposed to improve. And institutional investment in the Ethereum network is expected to increase.

Asked about the proposed changes planned to result from the merge, Cuban told Fortune, “I’m very bullish.”

Two key updates post-merge, according to Cuban

To Cuban, the merge is important for two key reasons. 

First, he mentioned the importance of Ethereum going to proof of stake.

Ethereum currently relies on what’s known as proof of work, under which miners must complete complex puzzles to validate transactions. This process requires a huge amount of computer power and is often criticized due to its environmental impact. 

With the planned upgrade to proof of stake, users would be able to validate transactions according to how many coins they contribute, or stake. In return for staking more coins, users have a higher likelihood of being chosen to validate transactions on the network and earn a reward.

Currently, Ethereum has both proof-of-work and proof-of-stake chains running in parallel. While both have validators, only the proof-of-work chain currently processes users’ transactions. Once the merge is complete, Ethereum’s blockchain will shift fully to the proof-of-stake chain, called the Beacon Chain, making mining obsolete. 

As a result, it’s predicted that Ethereum’s energy consumption will be cut by 99%

Second, Cuban said he’s interested in less Ether issuance after the merge, and how “that will possibly make it deflationary.” 

By this, he’s referring to how the supply of Ether is also expected to decline post-merge, because fewer coins are expected to be issued. 

“Following the merge, the amount of ETH issued is projected to drop by 90%, which would lead similar levels of fees to reduce Ether’s supply by as much as 5% a year,” blockchain analytics firm IntoTheBlock wrote in its newsletter.

If demand increases as the supply declines, the price of Ether may rise. But it’s impossible to predict the future price of any asset. 

Nonetheless, some think Ether may become a deflationary asset, or one with declining supply that can be used as a store of value, after the merge. Bitcoin is already considered such a safe haven.

Cuban confirmed to Fortune that he doesn’t have any money invested in the Beacon Chain, although he does own Ether, along with Ethereum-based non-fungible tokens (NFTs). He has also invested in many companies building on, looking to scale, or interact with Ethereum.

Being a self-proclaimed Ethereum maximalist, Cuban has frequently spoken about why he loves the blockchain. For him, it’s mostly due to Ethereum’s smart contracts, or collections of code that run on the blockchain and execute agreements.

“What really changed everything was smart contracts,” he said in March 2021. “Smart contracts came along, and that created DeFi [or decentralized finance] and NFTs [or non-fungible tokens]. That’s what changed the game. That’s what got me excited. That’s why it’s a lot like the internet.”

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