Last Ethereum Block Before Merge Minted $47K NFT

  • Proof-of-work is forever memorialized in an NFT minted by VanityBlocks
  • The block cost 30.2 ETH plus a 1.3 ETH transaction fee and is now listed on OpenSea

Ethereum’s transition to proof-of-stake was quite literally a once-in-a-lifetime event. Thanks to the public and immutable nature of the blockchain, an NFT marking that historic moment —- minted right at the boundary of the Merge — has proven an enticing prospect for a collector’s item.

Niche NFT project VanityBlocks was conceived to allow a person to fill an entire Ethereum block with a single transaction, and then turn that block into an NFT. The project’s founder wanted the final Ethereum proof-of-work block, bad.

Normally, a block contains anywhere from a few to a few hundred transactions, depending on the amount of code in each one. But VanityBlocks tokenizes the block itself, leaving the minter with a permanent blockchain trophy piece representing a snapshot in time.

It’s an expensive proposition. The last-ever “mined” Ethereum block cost 30.5 ETH ($47,160) to transform into an NFT.

VanityBlocks’ founder, who goes by the pseudonym MonkeyOnTheLoose, told Blockworks that he conceived of the idea about a year ago during a cannabis-infused conversation with friends. 

“Since we were minting blocks all year long, it was obvious that we had to mint the merge [block],” he said.

The project raised 70 ETH ($104,800) “from a bunch of [people]” to take a stab at minting the final block to ever be mined on Ethereum.

But it was far from a sure bet. Proof-of-work mining has variability in the timing of its block production, so picking the right moment to submit a transaction to mining pools fast was going to be a challenge.

“Our chances were slim,” the VanityBlocks founder said.

To make it work, a week ago they struck a deal with Bloxroute, which provides direct connections to miners with the ability to privately propagate the VanityBlocks transaction without it hitting the Ethereum mempool — a cache of pending transactions waiting to be included in blocks.

“We liked the idea, we thought it’s cool,” Bloxroute CEO Uri Klarman told Blockworks, estimating that their tool set increased the chances of VanityBlocks hitting their target to about 99%.

The block contains a message, which the group also posted to their Twitter feed:

“You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick.”

The NFT is listed on the OpenSea marketplace with a current best offer of 10 ETH (about $15,000).

For Bloxroute, it was a chance to be part of the creation of a digital artifact that symbolizes the end of the proof-of-work chain.

“This was a giant piece of history, we had a tiny tiny tiny bit in it,” Klarman said.

“There is an NFT there — we made it happen — which is kind of cool. I’m proud of it!”

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  • Macauley was an editor and content creator in the professional chess world for 14 years, prior to joining Blockworks. At Bucerius Law School (Master in Law and Business, 2020) he researched stablecoins, decentralized finance and central bank digital currencies. He also holds an MA in Film Studies; film credits include Associate Producer of the 2016 Netflix feature documentary, “Magnus” about World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen. He is based in Germany.

    Contact Macauley via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @yeluacaM