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Does Ethereum’s Centralizing “Merge” Warrant Further SEC Scrutiny?

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Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin addressed his joy for the company’s completion of the long awaited “Merge” on Sept. 15.

While this move to transition their consensus standards from proof-of work to proof-of-stake has been years in the making, crypto users may not be satisfied with their submission to centralization.

“Happy merge all,” Buterin said in appreciation for the process. “This is a big moment for the Ethereum ecosystem. Everyone who helped make the merge happen should feel very proud today.”

The decision to produce transaction ledgers in a different way was originally made for energy consumption reasons. Unfortunately, the company is now edging against the epitome of liberties in holding cryptocurrency.

The Merge has taken away the requirement for miners to prove computational power, with the removal of proof-of-work securities and replaced it with validators advancing Ether statements to verify transactions. This subsequently leads to a higher operation of central powers in the way of smaller stakeholders, because those who possess more Ether tokens will control the stakes.

To become a validator after The Merge, traders must have 32 ETH ($41,416), which certainly isn’t a small amount of pocket change for new traders.

Coincidentally, Ethereum’s Merge has further complicated their relationship with regulators, or the real central powers the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This is due to the SEC’s scrutiny against Ethereum’s largely centralized stakeholders seeming to act as “lenders.”

According to Cointelegraph, the SEC stated in a lawsuit filed shortly after the Merge that, “the SEC claimed jurisdiction over the Ethereum network as the majority of nodes are concentrated in the U.S.”

Regardless of how the SEC chooses to proceed in regulating Ethereum’s validators and nodes, if Ether is secured by the government, many stakeholders will lose freedoms. The final step in the Merge is expected to be complete by the end of 2024.

In the meantime, this means that the network will be embracing scalability and energy improvements to come.