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The Ethereum Merge Ups the Stakes—and Reshapes the Crypto Universe

Ether will pay interest and more closely resemble normal financial instruments.
 

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Illustration: Brenna Murphy for Bloomberg Businessweek
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Ethereum is about to get a makeover. The popular crypto network that runs Ether, the world’s second-most-valuable digital currency, could morph as early as Sept. 14 into a configuration that shakes up the entire crypto universe.

The long-anticipated software change, “the Merge” to crypto fans worldwide, will lower Ethereum’s energy use by 99%, silencing critics who dislike the blockchain for its electricity consumption—enough to power Finland for a year by one estimate.