Last week, Ethereum bid farewell to its former miner-based system that required vast amounts of energy to keep updated and instead switched to a proof-of-stake model.
The Ethereum Foundation hosted the largest Merge watch party, including presentations from Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin and other community members leaders and reached a peak of 41,000 viewers throughout its duration.
The first proof-of-stake blocks arrived at 3 a.m. in many parts of the world; for some, it felt like waiting for New Year’s Eve!
The merger’s most apparent and immediate impact was energy usage. Switching from mining to staking meant removing that blockchain component that gives it a bad environmental reputation – proof-of-work.
But mining is still around, even a few weeks after the merge. Many Ethereum miners are committing to other cryptocurrencies like the Ethereum Classic, which continues the proof-of-work concept. The merger offered to decrease global energy use by 0.2%, a statistic shared by Vitalik Buterin, the founder of the Ethereum blockchain.
This statistic, though, is still up for grabs as some media outlets and reputable researchers state otherwise since many mining systems now point to alternative coins. So energy usage hasn’t changed. The PoW process has continued since the Ethereum merge, and many of these alternative blockchains have significantly increased their hash power.
Ethereum mining used almost 72 terawatt-hours per year, according to Digiconomist, but the merge still begs the question of how much good it has done to the environment.
The original idea was for Ethereum to reduce electricity usage by 99%. But this didn’t account for all the third-party blockchains still available. The current Ethereum price is hovering around $1,281 USD.