Ethereum 'Merge' slashes crypto energy use

STORY: Cryptocurrencies have long been dogged by criticism they’re bad for the environment.

The process of producing and trading bitcoin and the like requires vast banks of computers, using huge amounts of energy.

Now bitcoin-rival ethereum may have the answer.

It's just completed a long-hyped ‘Merge’.

That sees it move to a new system which, backers say, cuts its energy consumption by 99.95%.

Inventor Vitalik Buterin announced the news in a Tweet on Thursday (September 15).

Prior to the change, a single transaction on Ethereum used as much power as the average U.S. household uses in a week.

That’s according to researchers at Digiconomist.

Now fans hope the change will help its ether tokens to gain ground.

They're up 85% from June lows, far outperforming gains by bitcoin.

Ether has also been winning market share from its larger rival.

However, on Thursday it was little changed immediately following news of the Merge.