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Ethereum Network's Energy-Saving Upgrade Won't Arrive in June

The change, which will make the ethereum network more efficient and more environmentally friendly, is taking quite awhile.

Ether Cryptocurrency Coin
A mockup of an ethereum digital coin. 
NurPhoto

A major upgrade to the ethereum network to consume far less energy has been pushed back again, as confirmed in a tweet from ethereum developer Tim Beiko on Tuesday. The change from was expected in June but is now estimated to happen sometime this year. 

This delay comes at a time when cryptocurrency and blockchain technology are under fire for the carbon footprint tied to cryptocurrency mining. Cryptocurrency mining operations have significantly increased in the US over the past year. 

Digiconomist's Ethereum Energy Consumption Index estimates the ethereum network's carbon footprint is roughly the same as Morocco's. The ethereum "merge" is expected to reduce the energy the network consumes by an estimated 99%. This change has been delayed multiple times since its announcement by the Ethereum Foundation a few years back. 

"It won't be June, but likely in a few months after,'' Beiko said on Twitter. "No firm date yet, but we're definitely in the final chapter of PoW on Ethereum."

Ethereum, the native blockchain of ether, is the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap after bitcoin. Both the ethereum blockchain and the bitcoin blockchain run on a "proof of work" system, which requires massive amounts of energy to function. The change to the ethereum network, known as "merge," will move the ethereum blockchain from proof of work to a different system called "proof of stake." 

On Tuesday, the Wikimedia community, which maintains Wikipedia, voted to end all cryptocurrency donations to the platform due to their environmental damage. A campaign from Greenpeace and other organizations to change the bitcoin network from proof of work to proof of stake also launched last month.