With The Merge, Ethereum wants to get rid of the energy-intensive blockchain

For Ethereum, the merger (“merge“In English) imminent. Blockchain will abandon mining and thus significantly reduce its energy consumption, creating development opportunities in line with the environmental challenges of our time. Decryption.

Consolidation, or “merger” in good French, is a major step for the Ethereum blockchain and the cryptocurrency world – since the general public knows it primarily for the sake of ether. This move to ETH 2.0, which the crypto world has been eagerly awaiting, hides more than just an update. With good reason, the Ethereum consensus mode will evolve from Proof of Work to Proof of Stake. Thus, instead of “Proof of Work,” a mechanism similar to Bitcoin’s that relies on miners to validate transactions, Ethereum will switch to “Proof of Stake” and will only need validators to ensure the network works.

“This is a highly anticipated milestone because it is the first time such a large and well-established network has changed consensus algorithms along the way. When Ethereum was launched, Proof of Work was more proven, and it made sense to continue with it. But as early as 2016, it imposed The very idea of ​​change in society and some have been waiting for it since 2017, which also explains the keen interest in this integration “ Claire Pavla, Director of Blockchains and Cryptocurrency at KPMG France.

A “merger” that would have the first consequence of drastically reducing the energy needs of the blockchain, has also been welcomed by associations such as Greenpeace that have been fighting for a paradigm shift towards proof-of-stake. With a wave of a magic wand – so to speak – Ethereum will consume 99% less energy.

It sounds too good to be true, and yet the number is realistic. “Maybe this number put forward by the community is very close to reality, since miners will disappear from this protocol. Ethereum will still need a little power to work, but validators will only need a primitive computer.” Raspberry Pi with 2TB of disk space can do the job, like running a small home server”Gregory Raymond, co-founder and editor in chief big whaleWeb media, 3.

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Guillaume Henry, journalist in the IT department at Digital Emphasizes: “Basically, we will move from drilling rigs [plateformes de minage, NDLR] Which can consume several thousand watts for a basic computer that only consumes 30 watts. The only difference is that you’ll have to make sure you’re always online so you don’t risk losing your reward, so get a UPS in case the power goes out”.

Towards a more centralized network?

Indispensable, too, is the need for validators to guarantee 32 ether so that they can participate in the validation of the blocks. This is no small matter with ether over 1500 euros. So it will be necessary to allocate approximately 50,000 euros to enter the system, where any device can participate with proof of work (even if you have a chance to receive a reward, it has become necessary to allocate more and more computing power – thus spending more and more energy for some Experts, this is a problem because Ethereum will become more centralized.

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“The merger generates many concerns. Those of technical bugs, first. Even if there are already over 400,000 validators and the beep is already running in parallel in the Proof of Stake, there is no 100% certainty that everything will be OK. Concerns about network governance and centralization are legitimate insofar as large auditors, and those with a lot of liquidity, such as stock exchanges, can benefit from some form of dominance and that their self-regulation remains one of the questions. It is a leap into the unknown to go into a technology that can provide a small number of players with significant thresholds for dominance.”explains Claire Palfa, who raises concerns about the potential censorship of auditors, which is morally contrary to blockchain ideology and is not well accepted.

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But then, what will happen to the miners and all their equipment? Undeniably, some may give up and it is possible to find stock graphics cards at the flea market. However, not all miners will become useless.

Miners using graphics cards will be able to mine in other protocols (Ethereum Classic for example) where the Proof of Work is still running. [Ce sera aussi le cas de ceux équipés en ASIC, NDLR]. We can even see a future for them on Ethereum 2.0, because the metaverses they are to be built on will need data resources.”continues Grégory Raymond who explains it “Ethereum should be seen as a global computer on which we can develop decentralized applications. Its cryptocurrency, ether, can be considered as a fuel for its use.”.

A trend that The Merge must promote further, by lifting the brakes on developers and investors who have been on the lookout to respect their ethical and environmental commitments.

A merger that comes at the best time and creates new opportunities

Ethereum has been working on this change for several years, and the least we can say is that it comes just in time, i.e. before winter, in a context of uncertainty, and with the explosion of the energy market. Hence, this is a huge development opportunity for Ethereum against other cryptocurrencies.

“The merger is timely, it is. So far, many large companies have refused to use Ethereum due to their commitment to sustainable development. In particular, this has provided a niche for competing protocols like Tezos, whose main argument has centered on respect for the environment, so this will not be the case. valid and alternative blockchains will have to invent other properties” Says the co-founder of big whale.

“I have seen large corporations be cautious about blockchain, because they have legal, social or cultural pressure to avoid technologies that are not reputable from an environmental point of view. These locks will jump, as the very rich ecosystem of Ethereum will comply with increasingly demanding environmental standards.” Cryptographic specialist KPMG notes.

“I’ve also seen a lot of green wash Of block chains that are built without a real green will, but who has seen that the green argument works well with large accounts, sometimes with very surprising marketing rhetoric. From now on, they will have to look for other relays.”she adds.

To stand out, the alternatives can focus specifically on size and processing capacity, as players like Solana or Avalanche do, even if it is difficult for them to compete with the Ethereum with which they always strive for excellent connectivity. Environmental responsibility can no longer be their only argument.

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