The power of a country, nothing more!

TL; DR: Ethereum will save at least ~99.95% of energy after the merger.

Ethereum will complete the transition to proof-of-stake in the next few months, which will bring countless improvements that have been theorized. However, now that the beacon chain has been running for several months, we can actually dig out these numbers. One area we are happy to explore involves new energy use estimates, because we have ended the process of consuming a country’s energy value by consensus.

So far, there are no specific statistics on energy consumption (or even what hardware is used), so what follows is an estimate of the future energy consumption of Ethereum.

Since many people are running multiple validators, I decided to use the number of unique addresses to make deposits as a proxy for how many servers there are today. Many stakeholders could have used multiple eth1 addresses, but this largely offsets the benefits of those with redundant settings.

At the time of writing, there are 140,592 validators from 16,405 unique addresses. Obviously, this is due to a serious deviation in the exchange and mortgage services, so deleting it will result in 87,897 verifiers being considered to have mortgaged at home. As a sanity check, this means that an average of 5.4 verification procedures per household seems to be a reasonable estimate to me.

Power requirements

How much power is required to run the beacon node (BN), 5.4 verifier client (VC) and eth1 full node? Based on my personal settings, it is about 15 watts. Joe Clapis (a Rocket Pool developer) recently ran 10 VCs, a Nimbus BN, and a Geth full node on a 10Ah USB battery pack for 10 hours, which means that the setup is 5W on average. The average investor is unlikely to run such an optimized setting, so we call it 100W.

Multiplying this with the previous 87k verifier means that the household’s power consumption is about 1.64 megawatts. It can be difficult to estimate the power consumed by hosting stakeholders, who use redundancy and backup to run tens of thousands of validator clients.

To make life easier, we also assume that they use 100W of power for every 5.5 validators.Based on the infrastructure team I talked to, this is a Total Overrated. The real answer is about 50 times less (if you are a guardianship mortgage team that costs more than 5W/validator, then I can definitely help you).

Therefore, in general, the proof-of-stake Ethereum will consume about 2.62 megawatts of electricity. This is not the size of a country, province or even a city, but the size of a small town (approximately 2,100 American households).

For reference, the proof of work (PoW) consensus on Ethereum currently consumes energy equivalent to that of medium-sized countries/regions, but this is actually a necessary condition to ensure the security of the PoW chain. As the name suggests, PoW reaches a consensus based on which branch has completed the most work. There are two ways to improve the completion rate of “work”, improve the efficiency of mining hardware, and use more hardware at the same time. In order to prevent a successful attack on the chain, the miner’s “work” speed must be greater than the attacker’s speed. Since attackers may have similar hardware, miners must keep a lot of efficient hardware running to prevent attackers from mining them, and all these hardware consume a lot of power.

Under PoW, because the price of ETH is positively correlated with the hash rate. Therefore, as the price rises, the power consumption of the network will also be in an equilibrium state. Under the proof of equity, when the price of ETH increases, the security of the network is also improved (the value of ETH equity is higher), but the energy demand remains the same.

Some comparisons

Digiconomist estimates Ethereum miners currently consume 44.49 terawatt hours per year, which will continue to reach 5.13 GW. According to the above conservative estimate, this means that the energy efficiency of PoS has increased by about 2000 times, which indicates that the total energy consumption has been reduced by at least 99.95%.

If the energy consumption per transaction is higher, it is about 35Wh/tx (about 60K gas/tx on average) or about 20 minutes of TV. In contrast, Ethereum PoW uses the equivalent of 2.8 days of house energy per transaction, while Bitcoin consumes 38 working days of value.

look forward to

Although Ethereum is still using PoW, this situation will not last long. In the past few weeks, We have seen The emergence of the first testnet merge, The name of Ethereum when it switched from PoW to PoS.Several teams of engineers are working overtime to ensure merge Arrive as soon as possible and will not affect safety.

Scaling solutions (such as aggregation and sharding) will help further reduce the energy consumed per transaction by leveraging economies of scale.

The power-hungry era of Ethereum is over, and I hope that other industries will do the same.

Thanks to Joseph Schweitzer, Danny Ryan, Sacha Yves Saint-Leger, Dankrad Feist and @phil_eth for their comments.

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