Discussions about Ethereum's shift to a PoS-based consensus mechanism started as early as 2014.1 Still, it was only many years later, on 15 September 2022, that Ethereum successfully underwent this transition – The Merge – that fundamentally altered the network's architecture. The upgrade has considerable implications for the network's electricity usage, which we estimate to have decreased by an astonishing 99.99% on the day of The Merge. This reduction stems from PoS not requiring the same level of computational power as PoW, as it relies on validators, who hold a stake in the network, rather than miners, who utilise powerful hardware to solve cryptographic puzzles. Further information about proof-of-stake and The Merge can be found in our FAQ section.
This section highlights The Merge from an environmental perspective, starting with a graph illustrating the vast difference in Ethereum’s power demand before and after The Merge. We would also like to emphasize that this section is solely intended to provide context regarding the impact of The Merge from an environmental perspective using easy-to-grasp analogies. It is not intended as an endorsement of any particular consensus mechanisms, as there are numerous additional factors that should be taken into consideration beyond energy efficiency.
A Pool and a Lemonade Dispenser
Did you know that when comparing Ethereum's electricity consumption before and after The Merge, the consumption prior to the transition to proof-of-stake can be likened to a small swimming pool, while the electricity consumption after The Merge is roughly the volume of a lemonade dispenser? Click on the lemonade dispenser to see how this analogy corresponds to recent electricity consumption estimates.
A Towering Difference
The following example offers an analogy that elucidates the differences in electricity consumption between Bitcoin, Ethereum 1.0, and Ethereum, without the need for technical language or jargon. In this illustration, if Bitcoin's consumption were equivalent to the height of Merdeka 118 (the world's second-tallest building), Ethereum 1.0's consumption would be comparable to the London Eye (one of the world's tallest observation wheels), and Ethereum in its current form would be as minuscule as a raspberry.