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Ethereum blockchain says slashing energy use with software overhaul

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Software for the Ethereum blockchain has been overhauled, drastically reducing its energy usage, its inventor and co-founder tweeted on Thursday.

The new system will use 99.95% less energy, according to the Ethereum Foundation. To its proponents, the upgrade represents a major advantage as Ethereum seeks to surpass rival blockchain bitcoin.

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Most blockchains devour large amounts of energy and have come under fire from environmentalists and some investors. Before the software upgrade, which is known as Merge, a single transaction on Ethereum used as much power as an average U.S. household uses in a week, according to researcher Digiconomist.

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The overhaul has changed how transactions on the Ethereum blockchain occur and how ether tokens, the second-largest crypto coin after bitcoin, are created.

Ethereum has moved from a “proof of work” system, in which energy-hungry computers validate transactions by solving complex maths problems, to a “proof of stake” system, where individuals and companies act as validators, using their ether as collateral, to win newly created tokens.

“Happy merge all,” inventor Vitalik Buterin said in a tweet. “This is a big moment for the Ethereum ecosystem.”

The cryptocurrency ether was little changed at $1,633 as of 0713 GMT. (Reporting by Maria Ponnezhath in Bengaluru and Elizabeth Howcroft in London; editing by Tom Wilson and Edwina Gibbs)

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