The Merge is fast approaching — and the switch to a Proof-of-Stake blockchain will be the most significant moment in Ethereum's history.
Now, Proof of Attendance Protocols — unique NFTs known as POAPs for short — are being created for crypto enthusiasts who want a special memento of this historic occasion.
POAPs have been celebrated by none other than Vitalik Buterin himself, as it allows recipients to show they personally participated in an event, such as a conference.
The project spearheading these commemorative NFTs is known as EtherPOAP — and in another distinctive twist, POAP badges are going to be airdropped to the inaugural 8,893 crowdfunding addresses that originally participated in and interacted with Ethereum's genesis block when the blockchain first launched.
A limited drop has also been earmarked for other collectors, giving them a powerful, visual reminder of their involvement in the Ethereum project.
Why The Merge matters
Since launching in 2015, Ethereum has been based on a Proof-of-Work blockchain, just like Bitcoin. But once this upgrade is complete, the network will move to Proof-of-Stake (PoS) — forever changing how transactions are validated and added to the blockchain. According to the Ethereum Foundation, PoS will reduce energy consumption by up to 99.95%, and further enhancements are planned that will lower gas costs and ramp up scalability.
EtherPOAP has been established with the help of HashKey Group, a digital asset company headquartered in Hong Kong that services mainly institutional and professional investors. HashKey is known as one of the early investors in Ethereum — and the company is now serving as the lead sponsor and partner of this POAP campaign.
Reflecting on The Merge's significance, it believes the substantial reduction in energy consumption could attract more institutional investors to the space.
In order to be eligible to receive one of these Ethereum Merge POAP NFTs, interested collectors will need to establish their very own decentralized identity with HashKey DID first — a digital identifier that acts like a passport that grants them access to the world of Web3.
DIDs have surged in popularity over recent months, not least because they offer a human-readable crypto address that can be used to log into an array of DApps. This also eliminates the frustration with using conventional crypto wallets that consist of a difficult-to-memorize string of letters and numbers.
Giving back to the community
EtherPOAP describes itself as a series of bespoke community events — led by a group of avid supporters in the Ethereum ecosystem. Collectors can start minting their EtherPOAP badge on the day of the Ethereum Merge.
And given how this blockchain has played an instrumental role in bringing NFTs to the masses, it seemed only fitting that these crypto collectibles were used to mark a milestone that will send shockwaves through the industry.
HashKey Group says it provides a complete ecosystem across the entire digital asset landscape for institutions — as it offers venture investment, custody and brokerage services among others. What's more, its senior team has extensive experience in governance and technology through a background in Tier 1 banks, regulators and fintech ventures.
Its objective is simple: To harness advanced blockchain research, development and technologies to identify potential opportunities for the future.
Buterin has previously said that he believes the Ethereum network will only be 55% complete once The Merge is executed — meaning it's accurate to describe this milestone as the end of the beginning.
First-edition books and posters from historic concerts — even unboxed versions of the debut iPhone — are now prized by collectors. EtherPOAP is hoping to carry on this proud tradition — celebrating a blockchain that has already, immeasurably, changed the world we live in.
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