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On Wednesday evening, Ethereum boasted its highest performance compared to Bitcoin since December 2021. While it's likely linked to the upcoming merge — which will shift Ethereum to a cleaner proof-of-stake consensus mechanism — the blockchain network has other reasons to celebrate. For one, the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency briefly crossed more than $2,000 last month for the first time since this spring.

These days, Ethereum is trading at around $1,610, spurring miners to go into overdrive. On Tuesday, the Ethereum Classic hashrate rose to 51.60 terahashes per second. Earlier this week, the Bellatrix upgrade also propelled ETC prices to spike to approximately $41.

As the blockchain network shifts from a proof-of-work consensus mechanism model to a proof-of-stake system that promises to be 99% more energy-efficient, Ethereum mining may soon end. 

After the merge, a scrappy group of diehard Ethereum miners are looking to fork again into something called "ETHPoW.”

“It’s expected that they would look for alternatives to make up for that lost revenue and Ethereum Classic would naturally be one of the beneficiaries,” Michael Safai, founding partner at Dexterity Capital, told Fortune. “Miners aren’t going to let go of their business model so easily, so that could create some short-to-medium momentum for ETC.”

Miners, however, might also flock to Ethereum Classic, which arose in 2016 after a hard fork. “Miners are primarily transitioning to Ethereum Classic as it is the main [proof-of-work] Ethereum-based chain,” Youwei Yang, director of financial analytics at StoneX Group, told Fortune. “Some miners even publicly announced support to build [an] ecosystem on [Ethereum Classic], including decentralized applications, protocols, and users," Yang said.

Much of the impending success — or failure — of the ETHPoW movement will depend on the number of miners moving to ETHPoW, whether ETHPoW acolytes will invest in the movement (or merely capitalize on it), and the network's ability to provide liquidity.

There's one potential consequence of the Ethereum merge though, according to Dan Held, the head of growth marketing at Kraken. Held argues that Bitcoin might face renewed pressure to be more energy-efficient: "I do think it will add pressure to Bitcoin's energy consumption, because they'll point to Ethereum and say, 'Hey, this blockchain' — I'm talking from a lay person's perspective here — 'this blockchain isn't using very much energy at all, and you're using a lot.' And that's it," Held told Decrypt: "They're not going to understand proof-of-stake versus proof-of-work, or anything else."

But he still says that Ethereum's proof-of-stake system will be less secure than Bitcoin's. "It opens up Ethereum to some technical attack vectors that the Bitcoin community does not want to take on. And that’s why they're sticking with proof-of-work," he told Decrypt.