For those with crypto-loving colleagues or friends, you may be sick of hearing about "the merge". For the uninitiated however, there was some big news in the crypto corner of the internet this week as Ethereum underwent a transformation in a bid to reduce the complexity and energy consumption of the world's second-largest cryptocurrency.
Developers successfully executed on the plan, known as the "Ethereum merge", which fundamentally changes how the cryptocurrency validates transactions on the Ethereum chain. The move, away from a type of blockchain that uses "proof-of-work" towards an architecture using "proof-of-stake", is set to reduce the need for power-hungry computers. According to crypto researchers, the change is set to reduce Ethereum's energy consumption by some 99.95%.
That's a big deal because, like Bitcoin, Ethereum has historically used an enormous amount of energy to validate its transactions. Digiconomist estimates that the energy consumption of the two combined would rank 27th on a list of the world's most energy-intensive countries.
Ethereum > Bitcoin?
After skyrocketing in the last 2 years, cryptocurrencies have fallen back to Earth in 2022, losing a combined $2 trillion in market value — and Ethereum has been no exception. The total market value of all Ethereum is currently somewhere around half of Bitcoin's. Time will tell whether this major infrastructure change will see Ethereum finally unseat its rival.