The energy consumption associated with some cryptocurrencies is one of the main barriers to their mass adoption as a means of payment. Like Bitcoin, Ethereum was very energy intensive.
But today it is in the past. On September 15, the Ethereum blockchain completed a major update called The Merge. With this, Ethereum moved from the Proof-of-Work consensus mechanism (still used by Bitcoin) to Proof-of-Stake, which consumes little power.
So, after the September 15 update, Ethereum has dramatically reduced its power consumption. According to the Ethereum Foundation, this reduction will be almost 99.95%.
Saved energy is comparable to the needs of the country
In a research paper published by the BBC, Alex De Vries, a researcher in data science and economics at VU Amsterdam, looked at the impact of the Ethereum upgrade. And, according to him, today the blockchain consumes 99.84-99.9996% less energy.
“In absolute terms, the decline in electricity demand could be equivalent to the consumption of electricity in a country like Ireland or even Austria,” the article says.
And although the energy consumption of Bitcoin today is comparable to the energy consumption in Finland, Ethereum is presented by the researcher as an example to follow. Quoted by the BBC, De Vries explains that the bitcoin community is very resistant to change.
Will bitcoin be forced to follow suit?
But, he said, the Ethereum community has demonstrated that, despite reluctance, it is possible to make the necessary changes to the blockchain during production. “[…] The bitcoin community may need a little outside help to shake things up,” he said. And the Ethereum merger can serve as a roadmap.
However, if the Ethereum merger was an achievement, the researcher believes it is too early to claim a “complete victory.” De Vries does point out that blockchain is still not as efficient as centralized alternatives.
As a reminder, after the merger, Ethereum is already planning new updates to improve the performance of the blockchain. And at the same time, the community intends to pay off its climate debt. In a previous article, we shared the announcement made on this occasion by ConsenSys (a blockchain specialist) on the occasion of COP27.