Home - Ethereum - Cambridge Research on Ethereum- Here’s what you need to know

James Carter

May 3, 2023

Cambridge Research on Ethereum- Here’s what you need to know

The recent Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index (CBECI) study analyzed the energy usage of different blockchain networks, including Ethereum. The study found that, as of April 2021, Ethereum’s annual energy consumption was approximately 44.49 terawatt-hours (TWh).

Cambridge Research on Ethereum- Here’s what you need to know

To put this into context, Switzerland’s total energy consumption in 2020 was approximately 47 TWh. This means that Ethereum’s annual energy consumption was roughly equivalent to the energy used by Switzerland in a year.

It’s worth noting that Ethereum, like many other blockchain networks, uses a consensus mechanism called proof-of-work (PoW) that requires a lot of computational power and energy to maintain the network. However, Ethereum is planning to transition to a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism, which is expected to be much more energy-efficient.

The PoS mechanism would replace the energy-intensive mining process with a system that uses validators to verify transactions and create new blocks. This is expected to significantly reduce Ethereum’s energy consumption and carbon footprint, making it a more environmentally sustainable blockchain network.

During its lifetime, the Ethereum network has consumed the same amount of energy as Switzerland, according to the findings of the study that was carried out by the Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) at Cambridge University.

The CCAF estimates that the Ethereum network used a total of 58.26 Terawatt hours (TWh) of energy between the year 2015 and the date of the Merge, which occurred in September 2022 and marked the transfer of the network from the Proof-of-Work consensus mechanism to the Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism. This figure was derived from the data collected by the CCAF.

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As a point of comparison, the total yearly power usage of the country of Switzerland over the same time period was 54.88 TWh.

According to the CCAF, the total amount of energy that was used by Bitcoin over the period was 143.9 TWh.

Alexander Neumuller, one of the researchers who work with the CCAF, is the one who came up with the finding and published it in a blog post.

This striking disparity in the amounts of energy used demonstrates that one of the “core objectives” of the Merge has been successfully completed. Neumuller was the writer.

The Ethereum Foundation has stated in the past that the switch from Proof-of-Work to Proof-of-Stake will result in a 99.9% reduction in the amount of energy that is used, and the researcher who wrote the report mentioned that this is consistent with the findings of CCAF.

The CCAF also posted the same conclusion on Twitter, using an illustration that linked the Ethereum network to a raspberry while at the same time comparing Bitcoin to the skyscraper known as Merdeka 118 in Malaysia.

Cambridge Research on Ethereum- Here’s what you need to know

CCAF is most well-known for its ability to estimate the amount of energy that is used by the Bitcoin network, in addition to providing data on the locations of Bitcoin mining operations.

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The center determined in the past that the United States has replaced China as the epicenter of global Bitcoin mining, with the country now being responsible for approximately 38% of Bitcoin’s worldwide hash rate. In other words, China is no longer the dominant force in Bitcoin mining.