Whether you own cryptocurrency or not, the Ethereum Merge is a big deal. In the works since 2014, the long-delayed Merge will see ethereum, the second-biggest blockchain behind bitcoin, become nearly carbon neutral.
That is of huge consequence. Cryptocurrency critics argue that coins like bitcoin and ether are useless and use enormous amounts of electricity. The first point is polarizing and subjective, but the second is unequivocally true. In an era when more people than ever view climate change mitigation as society's No. 1 priority, the carbon emissions of bitcoin and ethereum are too conspicuous to ignore.
In the Merge, ethereum will adopt a system known as proof of stake, which has been planned since before the blockchain's creation in 2014. Because of its technical complexity, and the increasingly large amount of money at risk, it has been delayed multiple times. The Merge is part of what in the past was called "ether 2.0," a series of upgrades that reshape the blockchain's foundations. Mid-September is the goal deadline.
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