The only potential saving grace for the whole mining community was the possibility of switching to Ethereum Classic and other PoW forks after the merge of the mainnet with the beacon network. The merge had multiple reasons to be hyped up, but the shift to the proof-of-stake consensus mechanism was the main talking point of the whole community.
Reducing the environmental impact
With the pressure from institutionalized investors, progressive members of the community, and even the US government, it was inevitable that Ethereum would try to cave in and switch to the PoS model. The process began in 2018 when the Beacon network was launched. The event turned out to be a success on the technical level but brought nothing but chaos to the Ethereum community.
As many experts pointed out before, the merge was a hugely overblown event that did not have any actual utility. However, the overall excitement of the crypto community was just way too big to contain by any rationale. Right after the merge, ETH lost 12% of its value within 6 hours. Over the next week, the situation did not stabilize with ETH losing 17% in total and reaching a $1,300 support level.
Investors took a big hit, but the true losers of the merger’s fallout are miners who are now left sitting on tons of expensive equipment and with nothing good to mine. Alternatives like RavenCoin and ERGO are just not profitable for many miners. The difficulty skyrocketed on all alternative platforms due to the influx of miners.
ETH forks have been struggling even more
After the merge, PoW forks of Ethereum nose-dived by 72% (ETF) and 66,8% (ETHW). It made some networks completely unprofitable for miners. Unfortunately, using GPU-centric mining equipment may be less productive on the Bitcoin network meaning that many owners of ASIC units are flooding the market and some even contemplate the idea of using GPUs to build gaming PCs and selling them to recoup some of their investments.
RVN and ERG are still not good enough to switch meaning that the fall of PoW hard forks of Ethereum will likely mean the end of the GPU-based mining, at least for a long while.