New York, NY, September 15th, 2022 — Today, ConsenSys confirms that the goal of making Ethereum more sustainable through a historic transition from the Proof of Work to a Proof of Stake consensus mechanism has been achieved. This upgrade transforms Ethereum, the world’s first and largest smart contract platform, into an almost net-zero technology positioned for sustainable future growth, reducing overnight its carbon footprint by over 99.99%, according to a new report from CCRI (Crypto Carbon Ratings Institute), commissioned by ConsenSys. This surpasses the 99.95% estimate from the Ethereum Foundation.
According to CCRI, Ethereum’s electricity consumption has reduced by over 99.988%, from nearly 23 million megawatt-hours per year to just over 2,600. As a result, CO2 emissions are down 99.992%, from over 11 million tons annually to under 870, which is the equivalent of less than the annual energy use for a hundred homes in the United States.
The biggest decarbonization in the history of tech paves the way for industries
The Merge represents an extraordinary engineering feat on the part of Ethereum’s core developers – a unique and complex upgrade made possible by years of research and testing. It is the first time in history that an operational blockchain network has changed its consensus model while in continuous operation, dramatically slashing its carbon footprint overnight. Moreover, the Merge was carried out in a way that was entirely seamless for users, without any downtime.
The collaboration of hundreds of developers from all over the world, often working on a voluntary basis, is an interesting example of collective action to improve a public good and could provide a model for other industry overhauls in the future. It demonstrates how innovation and technology improvement can radically reduce emissions. Similar radical innovation and efforts are inevitable also in other sectors to achieve deep decarbonization. The slow progress of nations to decarbonize in line with the Paris Agreement underpins the necessity to act now and follow the example of Ethereum.
The Merge is the second implementation in a three-phase plan designed to make Ethereum more sustainable and secure. The transition to Proof of Stake sets the foundation for these next pivotal stages in the Ethereum development roadmap.
Speaking of the report and the success of the transition, Joseph Lubin, founder of ConsenSys and co-founder of Ethereum, said, “We’re delighted to have commissioned this report from CCRI, which substantiates the Ethereum Merge’s impact as likely the biggest decarbonization effort of any industry in history. Having removed the high carbon footprint as one of the biggest barriers to future growth, Ethereum is now primed for further waves of interest, development, adoption, and investment, as The Merge enables Ethereum to become internet scale IT infrastructure for low carbon projects around the globe.”
Uli Gallersdörfer, Co-founder and CEO of CCRI, stated, “We’re pleased to have been able to leverage our expertise to evaluate the success of Ethereum’s transition to Proof of Stake in sustainability terms and to have such positive findings. As a result, Ethereum’s green credentials are now comparable to any of the newer platforms launched based on Proof of Stake from the outset.”
The Merge opens a vast horizon of new opportunities for brands
The carbon footprint of the blockchain and cryptocurrency sector, particularly Proof of Work networks, has come under increasing scrutiny. At the same time, blockchain innovations like NFTs and decentralized finance have gained prominence and sizable user bases.
Ethereum’s transition to Proof of Stake could not be more timely. The move paves the way for adopting Ethereum-based applications and tokens by groups who would otherwise have been deterred by the high carbon footprint, allowing them to participate in the vast global network of Ethereum-based apps and services. For example, more complex smart contracts, such as those used to power NFTs or enterprise applications, invariably rely on more code to transact. Under Proof of Work, the environmental price of using these applications was simply too great given the current state of the power sector decarbonization and typical mining locations. Under Proof of Stake, users can transact with NFTs or use complex smart contracts with just a fraction of the impact.
In carrying out this research, CCRI used established literature and methodologies for the Proof of Work component, while the Proof of Stake assessment was conducted using a research framework developed by CCRI and adapted for Ethereum’s specific landscape.
The full CCRI report is available for download at https://carbon-ratings.com/eth-report-2022.
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ConsenSys is a leading Ethereum and decentralized protocols software company. We enable developers, enterprises, and people worldwide to build next-generation applications, launch modern financial infrastructure, and access the decentralized web. Our product suite, composed of Infura, Quorum, Codefi, MetaMask, MetaMask Institutional, Truffle, Diligence and our NFT platform, serves millions of users, supports billions of blockchain-based queries for our clients, and has handled billions of dollars in digital assets. Ethereum is the largest programmable blockchain in the world, leading in business adoption, developer community, and DeFi activity. On this trusted, open-source foundation, we are building the digital economy of tomorrow. To explore our products and solutions, visit https://consensys.net/.
CCRI – Crypto Carbon Ratings Institute – is a research-driven company providing data on sustainability aspects of cryptocurrencies, blockchain and other technologies. The interdisciplinary team has built a multi-year track record with a specific focus on cryptocurrencies and their sustainability impacts. CCRI uses the most up-to-date data sources as well as methods based on formerly peer-reviewed studies published in renowned scientific journals. CCRI provides insights that help their clients to understand and manage crypto-related ESG exposure. CCRI’s client base covers a broad range of clients including institutional investors, exchanges and blockchain networks. To explore CCRI’s products and services, visit https://carbon-ratings.com/.