‘Merge’ upgrade to Ethereum blockchain completed – claimed to use 99.95 less energy, and reducing global energy consumption by 0.2 percent
An upgrade to the Ethereum blockchain has been completed this week, which promises to drastically reduce its power consumption.
The upgrade, called the “Merge”, switches the blockchain from a “proof of work” system to a “proof of stake” protocol, which the Ethereum Foundation says will use 99.95 less energy.
Indeed, there are some claims online from Ethereum researchers that “the ‘merge’ will reduce worldwide electricity consumption by 0.2 percent.”
“The merge will reduce worldwide electricity consumption by 0.2%” – @drakefjustin
— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) September 15, 2022
“The Merge was executed on September 15, 2022,” noted the Ethereum Foundation. “This completed Ethereum’s transition to proof-of-stake consensus, officially deprecating proof-of-work and reducing energy consumption by ~99.95%.”
If these claimed figures are confirmed, this could be a huge environmental win for the world and some are saying it could be a game changer for the entire crypto sector, and boost the adoption of Ether and its blockchain.
electricity consumption estimates
world: 25,000 TWh
Bitcoin: 204 TWh (0.82% of world)
Ethereum: 85 TWh (0.34% of world)
— Justin Ðrake ?ﾟﾔﾊ (@drakefjustin) June 9, 2022
It should be remembered that the proof of stake consensus system for mining is energy-intensive by design, requiring individuals and organisations to solve complex mathematical problems in order to validate transactions, while in proof of stake it is groups’ holdings in the cryptocurrency that enables them to be recognised as validators.
Under proof of work a single Ethereum transaction currently requires as much power as the average US household uses in a week, according to research firm Digiconomist.
Ether has the second-greatest market capitalisation after Bitcoin, at about $200 billion (£171bn), but its blockchain processes some 1 million to 1.5 million transactions per day, compared to 200,000 to 300,000 for the Bitcoin blockchain.
The merge upgrade went live on Thursday, and according to CNBC all signs suggest the merge was a success.
The very first proof-of-stake block of transactions has reportedly finalised with a nearly 100 percent client participation rate. This was, by far, the best-case scenario, it reported.
The price of ether jumped following the merge, but as of 10.30am (BST) Thursday morning it is trading at down at $1,596.
According to CNBC, nine teams and more than 100 developers worked on the merge for years. In the hours ahead, this decentralised network of programmers spread out across the planet will monitor the rollout and, if needed, debug as fast as possible.
The Merge is the first of five upgrades planned for Ethereum, with the next being the “Surge”.
The others, which include the “Verge”, the “Purge” and the “Splurge”, are all intended to make Ethereum more scalable, decentralised, secure and energy-efficient.