In a significant development for the cryptocurrency world, Ethereum‘s achieved a reduction in its energy usage, slashing it by an astonishing 99%. The remarkable transformation, highlighted in a recent study by the University of Cambridge, marks a pivotal moment in the digital currency’s journey towards environmental sustainability.
The study’s findings are not just a win for Ethereum but also represent a challenge to the long-standing perceptions about the energy consumption of blockchain technology.
Ethereum’s environmental journey: From high emissions to sustainable practices
Prior to a major software upgrade in 2022, Ethereum’s environmental impact was a point of concern within the crypto community and beyond. The University of Cambridge’s study reveals that Ethereum’s greenhouse gas emissions before the upgrade were equivalent to the annual output of Honduras, a startling revelation that underscored the need for change.
It all changed with the “Ethereum Merge” in September 2022, a significant software upgrade that led to a drastic 99% reduction in the platform’s energy use. Before the transformation, Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, was responsible for cumulative greenhouse gas emissions of approximately 27.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) from its inception in 2015 until the merge.
Post-merge, Ethereum’s annual emissions have plummeted to just 2.8 kilotonnes of CO2 equivalent. The dramatic reduction is a testament to Ethereum’s commitment to environmental sustainability and its role as a pioneer in the crypto space. Anna Lerner, the executive director at the Ethereum Climate Platform, has been vocal about Ethereum’s role in redefining the environmental narrative of blockchain technology. Lerner highlights Ethereum’s proactive approach to minimizing its ecological footprint, demonstrating that blockchain technology and environmental responsibility can indeed coexist.
Comparative analysis: Ethereum vs. Bitcoin’s environmental impact
The University of Cambridge study also provides a comparative analysis of Ethereum’s environmental achievements against Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency. As of November 2022, Bitcoin’s annual greenhouse gas emissions are estimated to be around 73.9 MtCO2e. The figure places Bitcoin’s yearly emissions on a scale comparable to the entire 2020 output of Cambodia, as reported by Climate Watch.
The comparison not only showcases Ethereum’s significant strides in reducing its ecological footprint but also sets a benchmark for other cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies. Ethereum’s success story in reducing emissions serves as a blueprint for the industry, demonstrating that it is possible to balance technological innovation with environmental responsibility.
As the world’s attention turns to the COP28 climate summit, Ethereum’s achievements in the area challenge the prevailing narrative about blockchain’s environmental impact. The success story encourages further exploration and adoption of sustainable practices within the crypto sphere, paving the way for a more environmentally conscious future in digital currency.
Ethereum’s drastic reduction in energy consumption is a significant milestone in the cryptocurrency sector’s journey towards sustainability. The achievement not only alters the perception of blockchain technology’s environmental impact but also serves as an inspiration for other cryptocurrencies to follow suit. As the world increasingly focuses on sustainable practices, Ethereum’s transformation demonstrates the potential for technological innovation to align with environmental stewardship. The cryptocurrency sector, often criticized for its high energy consumption, now has a shining example of how to balance progress with planet-friendly practices. Ethereum’s story is not just about a reduction in emissions; it’s about setting a new standard for the future of sustainable digital currencies.