Ethereum's blockchain Merge is expected to take place around 5:05 am UTC on Sept. 15. It is a milestone that marks a full transition toward proof-of-stake for Ethereum and eliminates the need for energy-intensive mining by a projected 99.9% when compared to Proof of Work (PoW).
Some miners are also getting ready for a hard fork that would allow them to continue using PoW consensus. Forked coins have proven to be lucrative in the past. The holders of Ether (ETH), for example, came to possess an equivalent amount of Ethereum Classic (ETC) when it forked in 2016.
In the event of a new hard fork, in which the Ethereum blockchain would split into two different networks, users holding ETH on-chain would have an equal balance of ETHPoW (ETHW) on the forked chain. This would be an additional token and a totally different asset from ETH.
For ETH holders using hard wallets, the question is more straightforward: What would happen to your tokens if a fork followed the Merge? We have prepared some answers to this question so you don't get lost or trapped in a scam in the coming hours.
Most of the hard wallet providers are taking the same approach: Monitor adoption on the new chain as well as the forked chain before adding any support for ETHPoW. They also say that there is no need for users to take any action during the upgrade.
Charles Guillemet, chief technology officer of secure hard wallet provider Ledger, explained to Cointelegraph: “In the event of a fork, the first thing everyone should know is that any assets the user currently has on the main network are safe,” adding that the company “will not support an ETH Proof of Work fork on day 1, as there are a number of technical aspects that need to be evaluated to ensure it's safe for users, chief among those is ensuring the new chain is secure.”
Similarly, Josef Tětek, Bitcoin analyst at Trezor, said: “Trezor Suite will not support interaction with the pre-merge proof-of-work coins after the Merge, but users can still use their Trezor with a third-party interface like MetaMask to access the older version of the blockchain.”
Tangem, a Swiss wallet provider, also has no plans to support the PoW fork. “Until we are certain of the seriousness of the proponents of this hard fork, we are not ready to show our customers support for the project,” stated chief technology officer Andrey Lazutkin.
ETH holders who use non-custodial wallets and control their own private keys will have fast access to both sets of coins (ETHW and ETH). Private key owners can collect the forked coins using MetaMask to connect the PoW network to an Ethereum Virtual Machine wallet.
Crypto wallet companies also warn users to take extra precautions during and after the network upgrade. “Scammers are especially active during major network upgrades. Do not engage with anyone who claims you need to take urgent steps to protect your coins,” warned Tětek.