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Ethereum Upgrade Marks Beginning of the End for Traditional Ether Mining: CNBC After Hours

CNBC.com's Pippa Stevens brings you the day's top business news headlines. On today's show, CNBC.com's MacKenzie Sigalos reports on ethereum's London hard fork update and what it means for miners. Plus, President Joe Biden announces a new electric vehicle initiative with carmakers, but Tesla is left out of the event.

Ethereum just activated a major change called the ‘London hard fork’ — here’s why it’s a big deal

Ethereum's much-hyped and somewhat controversial "London" hard fork has just activated.

So far, news of the successful upgrade has coincided with a runup in the price of ether, the native token of ethereum's blockchain. The cryptocurrency is at $2,620up 3.9% in the last 24 hours.

A big part of the enthusiasm has to do with the fact that the software upgrade means a few big — and necessary — changes are coming to the code underpinning the world's second-biggest cryptocurrency. 

It has always been a tough go for ethereum users. The blockchain has a long-standing problem with scaling, and its highly unpredictable and sometimes exorbitant transaction fees can annoy even its biggest fans.

The problem has become worse in recent months thanks to a surge in interest in nonfungible tokens, which are mostly built on ethereum's blockchain, as well as an explosive growth in the world of decentralized finance, or DeFi, which also largely uses the ethereum blockchain.

Target to pay 100% of college tuition and textbooks in bid to attract workers

Target said Wednesday it will offer new perks to woo workers: a debt-free way to get a college degree and payments toward graduate programs.

Starting this fall, the big-box retailer said it will cover the cost of tuition, fees and textbooks for part- and full-time workers who pursue a qualifying undergraduate degree at more than 40 institutions. It will also fund advanced degrees, paying up to $10,000 each year for master's programs at those schools.

The national retailer is the latest company to dangle perks to attract job candidates in a competitive labor market. With the move, Target joins other retailers and restaurant chains — including Chipotle and Starbucks — that have programs that help employees pay for college. Walmart recently announced it would cover the full cost of college tuition and books for its employees, after previously requiring them to pay $1 a day.

Biden pushes for electric vehicles to make up half of U.S. auto sales by 2030

President Joe Biden will set a new national target on Thursday for the adoption of electric vehicles, calling for them to represent half of all new auto sales by 2030, according to senior administration officials.  

The target is expected to be supported by companies such as General MotorsFord Motor and Stellantis, formerly Fiat Chrysler. Executives of the Detroit automakers are scheduled to attend an event Thursday at the White House and pledge EV sales of between 40% and 50% by 2030.

Though the president will sign an executive order, the sales target is not mandatory. Instead, the document encourages the U.S. auto industry and government to promote legislation and the adoption of electrified vehicles. The target includes zero-emission vehicles powered by fuel cells and batteries as well as plug-in hybrid models with internal combustion engines.

The order "doesn't function as a mandate, but it does create the conditions for us to meet that goal," Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Thursday. "We have got to act, the transportation sector is the biggest part of our economy emitting greenhouse gases, and cars and trucks are one of the biggest parts of that."

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