On September 15, the day that Ethereum completed its Merge upgrade, marking its transition from proof-of-work (PoW) to proof-of-stake (PoS), Amsterdam-based international environmental organization Greenpeace blasted Bitcoin’s use of “outmoded” energy-hungry PoW consensus.
Greenpeace’s press release stated that “as ethereum, the world’s second largest cryptocurrency, dramatically cuts its climate pollution, environmental groups have intensified pressure on bitcoin to meet or beat ethereum’s environmental performance.”
Before the Merge, here is what Etheruem Foundation said about the the change in Ethereum’s energy consumption:
“Ethereum’s energy consumption will be reduced by ~99.95% following The Merge from proof-of-work (PoW) to proof-of-stake (PoS). After The Merge, Ethereum will use dramatically less carbon to be more secure.
“Since its inception, Ethereum has aimed to implement a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism, but doing this without compromising Ethereum’s vision of being a secure, scalable, and decentralized blockchain has taken years of focused research and development.
“Therefore, the network started by using proof-of-work consensus. Proof-of-work consensus requires miners to use their computing hardware to solve a puzzle. The solution to the puzzle proves that energy has been expended by the miner, demonstrating that they invested real-world value for the right to add to the blockchain.
“Both proof-of-work and proof-of-stake are just mechanisms to decide who gets to add the next block. Swapping proof-of-work for proof-of-stake, where the real-world value invested comes from ETH staked directly in a smart contract, removes the need for miners to burn energy to add to the blockchain. Therefore, the environmental cost of securing the network is drastically reduced.“
“Change the Code, Not the Climate” is “a campaign launched by the Environmental Working Group, Greenpeace USA, and several local organizations to push bitcoin, its miners and investors to support a change in software code that can shed the intensive use of and reliance on dirty sources of electricity.”
Greenpeace said that this campaign, which was launched in March, would now “intensify its efforts with $1 million in new online advertisements,” and that Greenpeace had launched “a petition calling on Fidelity Investments to push bitcoin to follow ethereum’s lead in switching to an energy-saving protocol that dramatically reduces the cryptocurrency’s contribution to the climate crisis.”
Michael Brune, director of the “Change the Code, Not the Climate” campaign, had this to say:
“With fires raging around the world and historic floods destroying lives and livelihoods, state and federal leaders and corporate executives are racing to decarbonize as quickly as possible. Ethereum has shown it’s possible to switch to an energy-efficient protocol with far less climate, air and water pollution. Other cryptocurrency protocols have operated on efficient consensus mechanisms for years. Bitcoin has become the outlier, defiantly refusing to accept its climate responsibility.“
And Rolf Skar, special project manager, Greenpeace USA, added:
“We’re in a climate crisis and everyone has a responsibility to act. With ethereum’s move to an energy-efficient protocol, it’s time for bitcoin to change. Companies promoting and profiting from bitcoin, like Fidelity Investments, BlackRock, Paypal and Block, have a responsibility to be a part of building a better, climate friendly bitcoin.“
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