One of the biggest upcoming developments in the blockchain world is the Ethereum blockchain making the move to a proof-of-stake mechanism. Announced by the Ethereum foundation last year, this move will mean a significant reduction in the energy used by the blockchain and a change in its overall processes.
While the announcement has been seen generally as a good move, some people still have a strong preference for the soon-to-be-discarded proof-of-work mechanism. This support includes the ‘forking’ of the Ethereum blockchain in order to create a separate chain that still runs on a proof-of-work consensus. Unfortunately for these people, they will not have the support of OpenSea, the biggest NFT marketplace in the industry.
OpenSea announced on its Twitter page on September 1, 2022, that it would not be offering support for any NFT assets based on a forked Ethereum chain.
In the Twitter thread, OpenSea made it clear that it is committed to supporting NFTs based on the upcoming proof-of-stake blockchain. It was also made clear that NFTs based on other versions of Ethereum would not be supported in the marketplace.
“3/ While we won’t speculate on potential forks–to the extent forked NFTs on ETHPoW exist–they won’t be supported or reflected on OpenSea.,” a follow-up tweet said, “4/ Beyond our commitment to supporting the upgraded PoS chain, we’ve been preparing the OpenSea product to ensure a smooth transition.”
With this, all speculation was put to rest regarding OpenSea’s stance on the upcoming network upgrade. Among the blockchain users who insist on creating and using a forked chain, there is a sense of the proof-of-work consensus being better than the proof-of-stake, thus their rejection of the latter.
But even if they insist on being loyal to a proof-of-work Ethereum blockchain, they risk being shut out of many opportunities within the industry. In the case of OpenSea, they will be losing access to one of the biggest platforms in blockchain and the revenue that comes with that.
Forked chains have not always had the best reception within the industry and it seems that forked Ethereum chains will be no different. But why is there so much of a push for Ethereum to make this switch in the first place?
One of the biggest motivations behind this change in the Ethereum network is energy use. A long-running and constant criticism of blockchain, in general, has been the fact that it used so much energy. Once reports came out of how much energy specific networks were using, the industry was painted as unsustainable and not eco-friendly. Blockchains with the proof-of-work consensus were especially criticized for their high energy use.
In light of this, we’ve even seen many blockchain and NFT projects from mainstream brands opt for networks that use less energy. But with this move, the Ethereum foundation has explained that over 90% of the network’s current expenditure will be cut down and this reputation can be washed off to some degree.