What you need to know
- Ethereum is moving over from a proof-of-work model to a proof-of-stake.
- This changes how distributed consensus on the blockchain is achieved, no longer requiring miners.
- Mining for the cryptocurrency is no longer the most efficient method to gain Ethereum, which should result in lower electricity use and GPU prices.
Cryptocurrency is either the best thing since sliced bread or it's the end of society as we know it today, depending on whom you ask. Things are about to change for everyone, however, as Ethereum is switching from a proof-of-work (PoW) to a proof-of-stake (PoS). On a basic level, this means it's no longer possible to make a small fortune mining Ethereum with your GPU.
We've seen a huge surge in demand for the best graphics cards over recent years through the popularity of mining cryptocurrency, more people gaming at home through the pandemic, and a semiconductor shortage. This caused prices to inflate considerably with scalping on classified sites seeing prices more than double the launch MSRP.
The cryptocurrency market crashed in 2022 (again) and this saw a supply of used graphics cards enter the market. Then we had the ease in semiconductor shortage, which saw the prices of cards fall to almost MSRP levels. With the switch of one of the largest cryptocurrencies to PoS means fewer people will be mining using dedicated machines as well as consumer-grade GPUs.
Other cryptocurrencies continue to use PoW and are therefore better for mining using a GPU, but they're not as popular as the likes of Bitcoin and Ethereum. You can expect to see the price of AMD RX and NVIDIA RTX series graphics cards continue to fall in the coming months. NVIDIA also reportedly has a lot of RTX 30 stock, which is great for gamers, but potentially not for those who want the latest and greatest GPU.
If NVIDIA has more old stock to push out, it may have to price the upcoming RTX 40 series slightly higher at launch or continue to drop RTX 30 pricing. This may depend on how aggressive the used market is with mining operations flooding it with cards. Regardless, Ethereum's move to PoS signals the crypto mining craze is finally coming to an end and we should see an easier process for gamers to buy next-gen cards.
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Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.