A pair of creative geniuses from venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz created a “Proof of Merge” NFT that would evolve dynamically as the Ethereum Merge happens.
Cryptocurrency enthusiasts long before the coming of the highly-anticipated Ethereum Merge can now prove just how passionate they are for cryptos with a “Proof of Merge” NFT. The dynamically-evolving NFT is unlike any other.
A pair of creative geniuses from the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) created the Proof of Merge NFTs and its smart contract in just a few days. The unique NFTs feature metadata that transforms dynamically simultaneously while the Ethereum Merge is happening.
A Closer Look at the Proof of Merge NFTs
Michael Blau and Mason Hall created the black-and-white Proof of Merge NFT, which goes through three phases automatically triggered by its smart contract. Blau works as an engineering partner at a16z, while Hall is a crypto investments partner at the same firm. The project’s front end was designed by software developer Zachm.eth.
Pre-merge, the first phase of Proof of Merge NFT showed two separate circles. The NFT’s second phase occurred early Wednesday, the day of the merge, and displayed two half-merged circles. The third and final phase shows the fully merged circles forming a yin-and-yang symbol (as seen in the featured image above). It indicates that the Ethereum merge is finally complete.
“It’s basically a side project that Mason and I hacked together really quickly over the weekend, this past weekend, and launched, and so far, it’s been pretty crazy,” Blau said in an interview.
Hall explains that the Proof of Merge NFT’s art is a nod to an Ethereum panda bear meme, typifying Ethereum’s execution layer as a black bear and the consensus layer as a white bear. These two bears combine to form a single panda bear, which has since become a metaphor for post-merge Ethereum.
Incidentally, tech giant Google also created an Ethereum Merge easter egg a few days before the scheduled merge. Users who type in variations of the keywords “Ethereum Merge” would be treated to a countdown timer that shows two bears running toward each other with outstretched arms. As the merge approaches, the bears’ distance gets closer. And if you check today, you’ll see that the bears have finally merged into a panda.
At this time of writing, about 9,000 unique crypto wallet addresses have already minted the Proof of Merge NFTs. These are free to mint. However, while the NFTs are unlimited in number, they can only be claimed before the merge is finalized.
When asked why Blau and Hall chose three phases for the Proof of Merge NFTs, Blau said it was mainly for the sake of simplicity.
“We’re actually storing each ASCII image on chain, and the more phases we wanted to store, that’s more data we have to store, which is more storage gas fees that we’d have to pay when actually deploying the smart contract initially,” Blau said.
The Proof of Merge NFTs are non-transferable. The transaction is bound to fail if you own one and want to transfer it. Worse, you will still be responsible for paying an Ethereum gas fee as the sender.
It means the Proof of Merge NFTs work like a “proof of attendance” NFT—only wallets that minted them before the merge can hold/keep them.
According to Hall, “a timestamp associated with the block” activated the transitional phase of two partially-converged circles. “And so we use[d] a 12-hour window before the merge actually happens to represent this intermediate phase.”
The Proof of Merge NFTs’ smart contract is particularly designed to determine precisely when the merge would occur for the NFT to morph into the final state—the yin-and-yang symbol.
“The only way to detect if the merge happened on chain or not is to measure something called block.difficulty,” Hall said. “It’s an attribute of a block that returns normally how difficult it was to mine that block on the Ethereum proof of work chain.”
Now that the merge is complete, the value will equal zero. The Ethereum Merge officially kicked in at 2:43 AM EST, with over 41,000 people tuning in to YouTube for an “Ethereum Mainnet Merge Viewing Party.”
The merge will see the Ethereum blockchain’s mainnet fully transitioning from proof-of-work mining to a proof-of-stake system, which will see a massive reduction in Ethereum’s energy consumption by 99.95%
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