Researchers said that following the merger, Ethereum’s use changed from that of the London Eye to that of a raspberry using the example of height for energy consumption.
Although the world of cryptocurrencies evolves so rapidly that it may seem like an eternity has passed, Ethereum’s switch from proof-of-stake to proof-of-work is still inspiring new studies on how much energy blockchain networks need, most recently from the University of Cambridge.
The Cambridge Blockchain Network Sustainability Index (CBNSI) was presented on Wednesday by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF), which is best known for its Bitcoin energy usage monitors and research at the Cambridge Judge Business School.
The tool compares the two biggest cryptocurrencies by market size, Bitcoin and Ethereum, and investigates the environmental effects of the merger. Additionally, it marks the company’s entry into the publication of proof-of-stake network dashboards.
Previously, Bitcoin and Ethereum depended on a proof-of-work system to verify transactions, in which computers would continually do difficult computations in the hopes of being rewarded with tokens. But this summer, Ethereum made the switch to proof-of-stake, where actors who have promised tokens to a network, sometimes in the form of staking, verify transactions.
While the Ethereum Foundation was quick to claim that the change made Ethereum 99.95% more energy-efficient, CCAF study shows that following the merging, Ethereum’s energy usage fell by 99.99%.
The study contrasts the energy consumption of Bitcoin and Ethereum before and after the integration using the analogy of height.
The London Eye, at 135 meters, is around five times smaller than the energy consumption of Bitcoin, which is represented by Malaysia’s Merdeka 118, the second-tallest structure in the world at 679 meters. The post-merge Ethereum network, according to CCAF, may be compared to a raspberry, or 1.5 cm, to continue the comparison.
Researchers did point out that the carbon footprint of the network is not entirely explained by power use. According to the researchers’ findings, it fails to measure the greenhouse gas emissions related to its computational capacity.
According to a blog post, the tool represents the most recent study conducted under the Cambridge Digital Assets Programme (CDAP), a research project sponsored by the CCAF in cooperation with institutions including the International Monetary Fund (IMF). A few traditional financial companies, like Fidelity, Goldman Sachs, Invesco, Mastercard, and Visa, are also working with the effort.
The application also offers daily updated energy estimates for Bitcoin and Ethereum. The index calculates Ethereum’s yearly power usage to be 5.8 gigawatt-hours compared to Bitcoin’s estimated 132.2 terawatt-hours at each network’s current pace.
Blockchain networks’ energy usage has long been a sensitive subject. The debate about Bitcoin’s carbon impact has also intensified over the past month as a result of the New York Times’ exposé on Bitcoin mining and the Greenpeace-sponsored artwork “Skull of Satoshi.”
When the Cambridge electricity index for Bitcoin was published in 2019, Cambridge researchers stated that the estimate of the energy consumption of Bitcoin was a “best guess,” stating that it is challenging to monitor accurately owing to ongoing variations.
Similarly, the creator of the “Skull of Satoshi” claimed that the debate over Bitcoin’s energy use isn’t black-and-white after speaking with individuals who think that Bitcoin mining supports the demand for greener power sources and helps give a purpose to otherwise wasted energy.