France's State Energy Giant Loves Ethereum
PoS Meets ESG as Utility Embraces Minimal Carbon Footprint
By: Samuel HaigByte
In a surprising development given government skepticism toward cryptocurrencies, Electricite de France, the French state-owned energy supplier, is operating more than 150 Ethereum nodes, according to a report from The Big Whale, a web3 news outlet.
One of EDF’s subsidaries, Exaion, operates around 10 nodes for itself, and more than 140 nodes on behalf of its customers. The Big Whale report said the unit also validates 150 more nodes for the Polkadot, Cosmos, Avalanche, and Tezos blockchains.
PoS Meets ESG
With a market capitalization of €46B ($45B), EDF is the fifth biggest utility in Europe, according to S&P Global. The utility’s crypto strategy shows that traditional companies are embracing PoS networks as ESG assets. ESG which stands for environmental, social, and governance criteria, has emerged as one of the most powerful drivers of investment strategy in the last decade.
Exaion shuns Bitcoin because its Proof of Work consensus mechanism consumes too much power. Fatih Balyeli, Exaion’s co-founder and CEO told The Big Whale it supports protocols “that consume little energy” and called PoW’s energy consumption an “insurmountable obstacle.”
Exaion was founded “with the utmost discretion” in 2020 due to cryptocurrencies remaining a “sensitive” topic in public discourse and has a staff of 30, the report says.
Exaion also provides blockchain infrastructure services. “We want to become the Amazon Web Services of web3,” Fatih Balyeli, Exaion’s co-founder and CEO told Big Whale, a reference to Amazon’s cloud computing division.
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On Sept. 15, Ethereum transitioned to Proof of Stake consensus and replaced miners from the network with validators, a shift that ushered in a 99.8% reduction in its carbon footprint.
The upgrade also precipitated a 90% reduction in new Ether issuance, reducing daily validator rewards from 13,500 ETH to just 1,711 based on the current number of staked Ether.
The drop in ETH issuance paved the way for Ethereum to become deflationary — meaning more Ether is destroyed through the burning of base transaction fees than issued to stakers as rewards — should demand for block space increase from recent levels.
Indeed, recent excitement surrounding the XEN project has helped to tip Ethereum deflationary over recent days, with XEN representing more than 20% of the 2,501 ETH burned over the past 24 hours, according to Ultra Sound Money.
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However, Ethereum’s supply grew by around 51,000 ETH over the past 30 days compared to a burn rate of nearly 40,500. Still, Ethereum’s monthly supply growth was less than 3% of what it would have been under Proof of Work, with just $14.2M worth of coins entering circulation over 30 days.
Deflationary or otherwise, Ethereum’s validator rewards will remain locked on the Beacon Chain until a future network upgrade, meaning that stakers are unable to offload their rewards onto the open market.
However, stakers could use derivatives such as options or futures contracts to hedge their ETH holdings to protect against losses in the interim.