Throughout the world’s ongoing crisis over cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, one of the persisting criticisms by detractors has been the high energy demands of mining and exchanging the digital currencies. Crypto has traditionally required large banks of computers running thousands of equations to fuel the proof-of-work model used by blockchain-backed programs.
As of September 2022, the traditional model is no longer applicable for Ethereum. With the major upgrade to the network referred to as “the merge,” the cryptocurrency has moved from proof-of-work to the proof-of-stake model, slashing energy consumption to less than 1% of what was used previously. As the client participation rate in the update is nearly 100%, the environmental implications of the merge are nothing short of astounding.
“I feel very proud, that I'll be able to look back and say I've had a role to play in removing a megaton of carbon from the atmosphere every week,” said Ben Edgington, product leader at Ethereum’s R&D firm ConsenSys, in a recent interview. “That's something that meaningfully affects my family and others.”
In addition to the positive ecological impact of the merge, Ethereum has enjoyed a significant boost to its value, with a major increase in the price of ether reported since the update.