A strong litany of computer programmers across the globe is set to accomplish one of the biggest software upgrades the crypto ecosystem has ever seen this new week to reduce its environmentally unfriendly energy consumption.
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Cryptocurrency experts say the changeover, expected to take place between Tuesday and Thursday, will slash energy consumption by more than 99 percent.
On the crypto market performance:
The crypto market cap has reclaimed the coveted $1 trillion mark following the recent gains from BTC, ETH, and many others.
Ethereum went from a multi-week low beneath $1,500 to north of $1,700 in mere days. Perhaps fueled by hype from the upcoming Merge, the second-largest crypto is up by another 1% today.
Developers have spent years working on a more energy-efficient version of the Ethereum blockchain, a digital ledger that underpins a multibillion-dollar ecosystem of cryptocurrencies, digital tokens (NFTs), games and apps.
The switchover, dubbed “the merge”, will change the way transactions are logged.
At the moment, so-called crypto miners use energy-guzzling rigs of computers to solve puzzles that reward them with new coins, a system known as “proof of work”.
The new system will get rid of those miners and their computer stacks overnight.
Instead “validators” will have to put up 32 Ether (worth $55,000), Ethereum’s cryptocurrency, to participate in the new “proof of stake” system where they earn rewards for their work.
But the merge process will be risky.
Blockchain company Consensys called it a “monumental technological milestone” and the biggest update to Ethereum since it was launched in 2015. Critics have questioned whether such an upgrade will pass off without incident, given the sector’s history of instability.
Ethereum went offline in May for three hours when a new NFT project sparked a surge in buyers that overwhelmed the network. Several exchanges and crypto companies said they would halt transactions during the merge process.