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Cryptocurrency ethereum plans to cut carbon emissions by 99% with upgrade | CRYPTOCURRENCIES

Ethereum, the second largest cryptocurrency, will complete a plan to reduce its carbon emissions by more than 99% in the next month, the foundation that controls the platform has confirmed.

The project, called “the merger,” will see ethereum change the underlying technology it uses to validate crypto transactions to a new process that requires less power to manage.

Once complete, the merger will end the role of “miners” in the ethereum ecosystem, helping to drastically reduce electricity use. These users run huge amounts of powerful, purpose-built technology all day, every day, to generate random numbers that affect overall network security.

The power consumption of ethereum mining is currently estimated at about 72 terawatt-hours a year, according to Alex de Vries, a Dutch economist who runs the Digiconomist website. That is comparable to the energy consumption of Colombia, with a carbon footprint equivalent to that of Switzerland.

The change will see the platform move away from a “proof-of-work” process, which requires cryptocurrency miners to generate random numbers to verify records stored on the blockchain, the technology that underpins digital currencies like ethereum and the most popular bitcoin

Instead, Ethereum will use a “proof of stake” process, in which the network will be protected by users who “stake” sums of the cryptocurrency, committing to act honestly at the risk of losing it.

De Vries said the change would eliminate most electricity use. “They could cut off a lot of your power demand. I’ll work to quantify that more precisely, but a reduction of at least 99% (probably even 99.9%) should be achieved. This translates into something like the electricity consumption of a country like Portugal (a quarter of all data centers in the world combined) disappearing overnight.”

The proof-of-stake model is currently being used in an experimental “beacon” blockchain, where it has been tested to ensure that the theoretical security it provides is sufficient for the multi-billion dollar economy that sits on top of the ethereum network. . Now, the experimental blockchain will take over the work of the mainnet.

“Imagine that ethereum is a spaceship that is not ready for interstellar travel,” the ethereum foundation said, explaining the merger. “With the chain of beacons, the community has built a new engine and a reinforced hull. After significant testing, it’s almost time to hot-swap the new motor for the old one mid-flight. This will merge the new, more efficient engine with the existing ship, ready to put in some serious light years and conquer the universe.”

There are still potential problems ahead. The foundation said users should be on the lookout for an increase in scamming activity because hackers could take advantage of the confusion around the change to try to trick users into revealing their passwords, funds, or both. “You should be on high alert for scams trying to take advantage of users during this transition,” the organization said. “Do not send your ETH anywhere in an attempt to ‘upgrade to ETH2’. There is no ETH2 token, and there is nothing else you need to do to keep your funds safe.”

The final stages of the merger are expected to begin on September 6, the foundation said, with the old blockchain shutting down sometime between September 10 and 20.

Ethereum will not be the first network to use proof of stake, and others, including cardano and solana, have demonstrated the technology on a smaller scale. But his change will leave bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency, facing renewed criticism for its continued reliance on proof-of-work.

The bitcoin network uses 130 TWh of electricity a year, de Vries estimates, a sum that will become increasingly difficult to defend if the ethereum blockchain proves that the same capabilities can be achieved in an environmentally friendly way.

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