At a conference yesterday, Ethereum co-founder and unofficial figurehead Vitalik Buterin argued that the imminent transition from Ethereum to a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism is a “solution” to the rampant energy consumption of the blockchain, which has recently outraged critics.
In an interview at the StartmeupHK virtual conference in Hong Kong, Buterin said that while the Proof of Stake is “still in its infancy and less battle-tested” than Ethereum’s current Proof-of-Work model, it will ultimately reduce the chain’s energy consumption can be increased by more than 10,000 times.
The comments come amid a period of fierce criticism of blockchain technology for its environmental impact – including from some former supporters. Tesla founder Elon Musk recently made a U-turn regarding the auto company’s acceptance of bitcoin payments, saying it couldn’t promote fossil fuel use via bitcoin mining. In other threads, he also urged Dogecoin to increase its efficiency on several key metrics.
Buterin responded directly to these comments on scalability in a blog post on his website, outlining the problems of trying to scale by simply adjusting the parameters to match the block size.
The limits of blockchain scalability (or why you can’t just increase the block size by 10x): https://t.co/y08T3TMr2U
– vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) May 23, 2021
Earlier this month, Buterin also argued that Bitcoin’s continued use of proof-of-work means that what is currently the largest chain in the world will eventually be “left behind” as users demand increasingly more energy-efficient, greener options. a phenomenon he says makes it “possible” for Ethereum to eventually dwarf Bitcoin and the greatest digital asset.
Ultimately, Buterin seems to agree with critics on the need for blockchains to adopt newer, more efficient models – especially as the chain grows in volume and becomes a widespread computing network.
“This thing we’re building isn’t just a game anymore. It’s an integral part of a new era. “