Por Medha Singh and Lisa Pauline Mattackal
(Reuters) – Cryptocurrency ether may be close to overtaking leader bitcoin as it approaches an upgrade to make it faster, cheaper and more energy efficient, with the prospect of a more sustainable crypto future.
The merger, which would move ether mining from energy-intensive proof-of-work to proof-of-stake, has been delayed, frustrating investors.
Ether is down 8% on April 11, the day lead ethereum developer Tim Beiko said on Twitter that the June launch had been delayed as testing continued. The cryptocurrency is down 13% this month.
“Not in June, but probably in the next few months,” Beiko wrote in the tweet. “We don’t have a set date yet, but we are definitely in the final chapter.”
The timing of the merger – ethereum’s EH1 chain will merge with a new chain to create ETH2 – remains uncertain, although many industry watchers expect it to happen later this year. Beiko did not respond to a request for comment.
Ether’s market capitalization of $363 billion is less than half that of bitcoin. Together, the two represent 60% of the cryptocurrency market.
Both bitcoin and ether are produced using a proof-of-work method in which thousands of miners compete to solve complex mathematical puzzles. This is an energy-intensive process, fueling fears about cryptocurrencies in a reduced carbon footprint world.
The alternative proof-of-stake method uses much less energy because, instead of having millions of computers running around to process puzzles, it allows system nodes to validate transactions.
Ethereum has been hampered by issues of speed and processing costs. The blockchain processes only 30 transactions per second, but expects to process up to 100,000 transactions per second when it moves to the POS. This will allow it to compete with other smaller altcoins such as Solana and Cardano.
(Reporting by Medha Singh and Lisa Pauline Mattackal)