Ethereum Plans to Cut Energy Use by Nearly 100%

Published on: 01 September 2022
by KnowESG
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Cryptocurrency Ethereum says it is reducing its energy consumption by nearly 100%, resulting in significantly fewer carbon emissions without compromising its operations.

The programme is called the Merge, and instead of using traditional cryptocurrency mining, which is energy-intensive, it uses a proof-of-stake system to validate transactions. Ethereum, the second largest cryptocurrency, says the transition will make it 2,000 times more energy efficient than current operations.

Currently, Ethereum’s energy consumption is approximately 112 terawatt-hours per year, which it says is comparable to the Netherlands’ entire energy use. Ethereum also says its carbon emissions are also similar to Singapore’s output. Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency, uses up to 190 TWh of energy a year.

Ethereum says it has been researching and developing the system for years. It says the proof-of-stake mechanism can be implemented without compromising its secure and decentralised blockchain.

In a more traditional proof-of-work of cryptocurrency mining, miners need to use computing hardware to show energy has been expended and to solve advanced math problems. Ethereum says there was an arms race, in a sense, by miners to get top equipment, which would further increase energy use.

The new system uses validators instead of miners. Validators perform the same function as miners, but instead of using their assets upfront as energy expenditures, they stake collateral against dishonest behaviour, Ethereum says.

Validators can use laptops or low-energy devices such as Raspberry Pi, and the energy cost will be equal to the cost of running the devices on a single node of the network.

With the significant energy use of cryptocurrency operations, some have looked for alternative means to provide the power they need. Earlier in 2022, a remote cryptocurrency mining operation received 4 megawatts of clean energy from Capstone Clean Energy to help power its data centre.

Ethereum has been using a beacon blockchain to test the security of the system, and now that blockchain will take over the main network. The Guardian reported that Ethereum is not the first to use a proof-of-stake system and that Cardano and Solana have used it on a smaller level.

The system is set to be completely in place by the end of September.

Source: Environmental Leader

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