The energy consumption associated with certain cryptocurrencies is one of the main obstacles to the mass adoption of these as a means of payment. And like Bitcoin, Ethereum was also very energy intensive.
But today, that is a thing of the past. On September 15, the Ethereum blockchain completed its big update called The Merge. Thanks to this, Ethereum moved from the proof-of-work consensus mechanism (still used by Bitcoin) to the proof-of-stake, which consumes little energy.
So, after the September 15 update, Ethereum drastically reduced its power consumption. According to the Ethereum Foundation, this reduction would be almost 99.95%.
The energy saved is comparable to the needs of a country
In a scientific article relayed by the BBC, Alex De Vries, researcher in data science and economics at the VU University of Amsterdam, looked at the impact of the Ethereum update. And according to him, the blockchain today consumes 99.84% to 99.9996% less energy.
“In absolute terms, the reduction in power demand could be equivalent to the electrical power requirement of a country like Ireland or even Austria”we read in the article.
And while Bitcoin’s energy consumption today is comparable to that of Finland, Ethereum is presented by the researcher as the example to follow. Quoted by the BBC, De Vries explains that the Bitcoin community is very resistant to change.
Will Bitcoin be pushed to follow suit?
But according to him, the Ethereum community has demonstrated that despite the reluctance, it is possible to make the necessary changes on a blockchain in production. “[…] the bitcoin community may need a little help from the outside to shake things up”, he also said. And the Ethereum Merge can serve as a roadmap.
Nevertheless, if the Ethereum Merge was an achievement, the researcher believes that it is still too early to declare “a complete victory”. De Vries indeed recalls that the blockchain still does not have the same efficiency as the centralized alternatives.
As a reminder, after the Merge, Ethereum is already planning new updates, in order to improve the performance of the blockchain. And at the same time, the community intends to pay its climate debt. In a previous article, we relayed an announcement made on this subject by the company ConsenSys (specialized in blockchain) on the occasion of COP27.