At its peak, Ethereum consumed about 94 TWh/yr - nearly equivalent to the annual energy consumption of the entire country of the Netherlands. Several thousands of VISA card transactions consume the same energy as a single Ethereum transaction. Naturally, these statistics were a grave cause for concern, drawing the wrath of environmentalists everywhere. As a result, Ethereum made a shift, resulting in a 99.988 % reduction in annual energy consumption.
This shift was called The Merge, and it occurred in September 2022.
One of the reasons for The Merge was Ethereum taking the heat in Washington D.C. when the ill effects of Ethereum mining were brought to light.
What is The Merge?
The Merge is a term for Ethereum’s protocol shift. It transitioned from the energy-intensive proof-of-work protocol to the far less harmful proof-of-stake model. The latter is a far more energy-efficient, environmental-friendly model.
Even as Bitcoin and other environmentally harmful crypto communities declared it nearly impossible to make such a massive transition on a live blockchain, Ethereum hit the ground running, working out ways in which it could cut down on its colossal consumption of non-renewable energy.
It seemed worthwhile when Ethereum finally managed to work out a greener alternative. Its efforts have been applauded the world over, with regulators using it as an example to other communities.
However, not everyone has a positive take on this transition. Many analysts argue that this transition has actually weakened Ethereum in terms of safety during transactions, among other things.
Plus, they’re quick to point out that it would be foolish for Ethereum’s community members to declare a complete victory just yet when centralized alternatives exist to the blockchain-based system that are far more efficient.