Technology

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

Ethereum, the second largest cryptocurrency, will complete a plan to lower its carbon emissions by more than 99% in the next month, the foundation that controls the platform has confirmed. The project, called “the merge”, will result in Ethereum switching the underlying technology it uses for validating crypto transactions to a new process that requires less energy to manage. Once complete, the merge will end the role of “miners” in the Ethereum ecosystem, helping to dramatically reduce electricity usage. These users run huge quantities of powerful, purpose-built technology all day, every day, to generate random numbers that affect the security of the overall network. The energy 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 with the power consumption of Colombia, with a carbon footprint equivalent to that of Switzerland. The changeover will lead to the platform moving away from a “proof of work” process, which requires cryptocurrency miners to generate random numbers to verify records stored on the blockchain – the technology underpinning digital currencies such as Ethereum and the more popular bitcoin.

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