The Ethereum merge poses security risks, making the network more vulnerable to attacks. A security expert recently stated that the proof of stake consensus is not as secure as the proof of work mechanism, at least on paper. So, even though Ethereum would benefit from a 99.95% decrease in energy usage from this merge, new concerns about security are popping up. We should also note that this is the reason Bitcoiners are always against the idea of moving from POW to POS consensus.
What is the problem with proof of stake?
The security expert said that the proof of stake could be compromised, and validators can plan attacks in advance. If the validator can just validate two consecutive blocks, they can start an exploit on block n and finish it in block n+1. The price manipulation in between won’t be fixed, and an arbitrage bot will not come in. Do note that this is also possible in the proof of work mechanism, but there the chances of a miner validating two blocks consecutively are very low and are based on luck. So, they cannot plan any attacks in advance.
The attacks can be implemented comparatively easier on the POS network. So, Ethereum POW is much more secure than the POS consensus it is soon going to shift to. However, it doesn’t mean that Ethereum will have poor security as, on a practical level, the POS system is still very safe. In fact, developers are already working to fix the consecutive block problem. It won’t be easy, but once done, the POS network will be almost as good as the POW network.
What would Ethereum merge mean for energy usage?
A Reddit post explains very well the kind of impact it would have. Ethereum will see a 99.5% drop in energy usage which will be equivalent to 11,000 wind turbines or 15.7 large nuclear reactors. The annual energy savings would be 110 TWh or 110 billion kWh. These numbers are considering the fact that a wind turbine produces 2.75 MW per hour in the US and can go up to 8 MW for offshore ones. They also have a capacity factor of 42%. On the other hand, nuclear reactors would produce around 800 MW per hour.
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