Ethereum, the second largest cryptocurrency, has finally moved to a ‘proof of stake’ system. This means the carbon emissions associated with mining its coins could be cut by 99%.
While environmentalists are staunchly anti-crypto at the moment, Ethereum has shown that the industry can shed its problematic link to fossil fuels.
The second largest cryptocurrency globally has just completed a software upgrade it’s calling ‘the merge.’ This will drastically alter the processes that generate Ethereum tokens on blockchain, and the biggest beneficiary will be the planet.
Up until this week, Ethereum had been employing what’s known as a ‘proof of work’ system. This uses stacks of supercomputers to certify trades along one continuous ledger without a third party being involved. It’s incredibly efficient, but ecologically abhorrent.
The autonomous data crunching requires so much energy to run, that dying coal plants have been revived purely to keep these decentralised empires running as normal. In the context of a single year, Ethereum would previously burn through as much power as the entire country of Libya.
Following ‘the merge,’ however, the company has now shifted to run exclusively on a ‘proof of stake’ process. Instead of using autonomous algorithms to create blocks on its ledger, this instead uses physical validators as a third party to create equity stakes, much like a deposit.