Today, the snowball starts rolling.
For Ethereum, anyway.
As one of cryptocurrency’s old guard, Ethereum (ETH) has long been accepted by most major US-facing online sportsbooks (unless you’re Bovada, in which case the asset is still fairly new).
But Ethereum, as a legacy asset, has also long been plagued by bottlenecks and accessibility issues.
It’s the most heavily-traded crypto coin on the market, with even more daily transaction volume than Bitcoin. And as the platform of choice for early-generation smart contract implementation and NFTs, that’s no surprise.
Bitcoin may have started the crypto craze, but Ethereum was the first blockchain to demonstrate the utility and potential of crypto in general.
Of course, the popularity of ETH is a double-edged sword: The more people that use it, the more powerful it is. At the same time, the more people that use it, the slower and more expensive each transaction becomes.
CNBC explains the core problem this way:
“It has always been a tough go for Ethereum users. The blockchain has a long-standing problem with scaling, and its highly unpredictable and sometimes exorbitant transaction fees can annoy even its biggest fans.
The problem has become worse in recent months thanks to a surge in interest in nonfungible tokens…as well as an explosive growth in the world of decentralized finance, or DeFi.”
Today’s London fork is the first step toward fixing these issues on the way to Ethereum 2.0. It also sets the table for ETH2’s Cardano-like delegation and staking model.
(To be clear, the ETH London fork does not constitute the actual transition to 2.0, which is slated to occur later this year or in early 2022.)
That said, this is the eleventh Ethereum hard fork since launch, and many believe it to be the most significant to date, if only because it sets the table for the next generation.
Here are the five Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) included in the Ethereum London rollout:
- EIP-1559 – Establishes a base “gas price” (i.e. fee structure per mined block) and doubles block sizes.
- EIP-3554 – Moves deadline for ETH miner upgrades from Q2 2022 to December 2021. The upgrades are necessary for ETH 2.0’s transition from Proof-of-Work (PoW) to Proof-of-Stake (PoS).
- EIP-3529 – Obviates the “gas token” model, which should result in lower blockchain fees.
- EIP-3198 – Increases base fee access for developers.
- EIP-3541 – Removes “0xEF or Executable Format” contract language, allowing for future upgrades to the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM).
For sports bettors, the only relevant takeaway from the above barely-summarized layman’s outline of the ETH London fork is this:
Your online bet funding transactions are going to cost less.
In other words, you’ll get to bet with more of what you deposit and withdraw more of what you win.
The other improvements are more behind-the-scenes in nature, and they’re immediately important only if you’re a real ether enthusiast.
TL;DR: The Ethereum London hard fork should reduce ETH blockchain fees on transactions to and from legal online sportsbooks, and there is nothing needed on your end. You can continue to use Ethereum to fund your online betting as usual. If you’ve been waiting for a time to buy Ethereum, you should probably get in now, as the ETH price is up over four percent in the last 24 hours on news of the London rollout.
So hodl the line!
Or, alternatively, get into hurry-up with your no-hodl offense!