Less energy-intensive, the future of the Ethereum blockchain remains littered with pitfalls

Ethereum, the second “blockchainn “the most important cryptocurrency in the world after the one used for bitcoins, has managed to transform itself to drastically reduce its environmental impact, but according to specialists this change could have serious consequences.

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Ethereum has managed to transform itself to drastically reduce its environmental impact.
Photo: AFP / VNA / CVN

Launched in 2015, Ethereum now hosts billions of dollars in transactions, particularly thanks to the cryptocurrency Ether, and also acts as a support for many assets such as NFTs, tamper-proof digital certificates of authenticity.

After months of preparation, this “block chain “ – a term referring to a large computer ledger – successfully completed one of the largest software updates in the history of the industry on September 15.

baptized “The merger” in English), this dangerous operation involved changing one of the pillars of Ethereum’s operation – its way of validating operations – to a system that consumes less energy.

Since it operates without a central authority, it is up to some Ethereum users to validate the trades that take place on this vast ledger.

Until mid-September, to belong to this circle of “validators“, it was necessary to solve a very complex calculation that required a great deal of computing power. The exercise, called”Proof of work” in English (“Proof of work“), consumes a large amount of electricity.

Now its “validators“must place a bet in Ether to have the right to validate. A method called “Proof of participation” in French) which allows you to get rid of heavy infrastructure for just needing software.

Almost a month later, this change had the effect of erasing more than 99% of the electricity consumption of the blockchain, which until then was roughly equivalent to the consumption of a country like New Zealand, according to Alex de Vries, a economist at the Free University of Amsterdam.

The 99% estimate is realistic and represents a positive step towards “sustainability of cryptocurrencies “, supports Moritz Platt, a cryptocurrency researcher at King’s College London.

Its long-awaited passage, however, caused a real earthquake for the “minors”these individuals responsible for validating operations who had invested in high-performance computing equipment.

Before “The merger”, this industry could gross about $ 22 million a day from Ethereum alone, according to Alex de Vries. However, the new method of validating transactions has made them obsolete.

“We cannot magically resell all these infrastructures and recover the capital invested”complained about a cryptocurrency miner known only as “J”, which operates between Singapore and Hong Kong (China).


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