They just can't quit.

New Reality

The Ethereum blockchain, the second-largest cryptocurrency by trading volume, has completed the "merge," switching from a proof-of-work to proof-of-stake system.

It's a major win for the environment, as it puts energy-intensive Ethereum mining operations out of business overnight.

But that also means mining outfits are now sitting on massive piles of extremely power-hungry hardware. Many banded together to create ETHPoW, a hard fork of Ethereum that lets them keep their environmentally damaging operations going.

That's not going so great, though. Today alone — the fork was yesterday — ETHPoW is already down by a staggering 55 percent.

Going Down

Ether is down too, but only by around five percent over the same period.

It's too early to say for sure, but that just might be a sign that the merge, which slashed the vast majority of Ethereum's energy usage, could be a plausible future for crypto.

ETHPoW went live following Ethereum's merge earlier this week. But the launch quickly was thrown into chaos, with users experiencing major issues accessing the network, Decrypt reports.

The Ethereum community hasn't exactly welcomed the hard fork, with Ethereum co-creator Vitalik Buterin dismissing ETHPoW supporters "simply trying to make a quick buck" last month.

Pollution Uber Alles

It's a sad state of affairs, seeing businesses clamor to keep an extremely environmentally unfriendly status quo from disappearing.

As always, it's impossible to predict where tokens like Ethereum and its forks will go from here.

But one thing is for certain: we've seen that it's possible for mainstream crypto to shed much of their carbon footprint — which is something we should be celebrating, not fighting.

READ MORE: Forked Ethereum Token ETHW Surges, Then Tanks Following Merge Event [Decrypt]

More on the merge: Ether Price Falls After "Merge" to Cut Its Environmental Toll

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