Cryptocurrency’s Green Future: Where Will Bitcoin’s Energy & Electricity Usage End Up?
Crypto Green Future?
Though Bitcoin has gained some legitimacy among many due to its potential as a mechanism for transaction, it does seem to have an image problem, other than the one related to being a mechanism to commit fraud.
Another major image problem that the coin is developing has to do with its environmental impact. It seems that the process of mining new coins takes a great deal of energy. According to one study, bitcoin mining requires as much electricity as a small country. The environmental impact that bitcoin is having comes at a time when many are looking for ways to decrease environmental challenges, rather than exacerbate them.
Now that the problem has been identified, it is imperative to consider a solution. Many are looking toward advances in the ability to generate green electricity as a method to counteract bitcoin’s use of electricity. If bitcoin is using green electricity for its mining purpose, then it may mitigate the impact on the environment. Unfortunately, there are some that say that even if bitcoin were to use green energy, its rate of growth will soon require bitcoin to use as much power as all of the solar panels in the world. Therefore, green energy may be part solution, but not one that completely resolves the issue.
Others are turning to the potential of a more sustainable and greener approach to bitcoin. Some of such proponents are considering getting rid of bitcoin mining altogether as Nano Coin did. Another option is to create a coin which rewards environmentalism over energy consumption, similar to that of EnergyCoin or Solarcoin.
SolarCoin’s creators describe the coin as “like air-miles for Solar electricity generation.” The coin is ideal for those who are already using solar to power their home or business. There are 97,500 Terawatt hours of solar energy reserved with the coin and the coin represents a way to encourage environmentally-friendly behavior. Though it does hold promise, there are some challenges.
For example, the coin is centralized. The centralized aspect is necessary when it comes to this coin, as opposed to decentralized distribution, which may make it more difficult to certify the supply chain, even if blockchain were behind it. Further, the centralized aspect is a no-go for many in the crypto community.
Alternatively, EnergyCoin utilizes a different approach for achieving similar results. The coin is designed as a platform that builds apps on the blockchain. The platform’s design facilitates transactions from fossil fuels toward renewable energy. Though it was bustling from early 2017, such activity seemed to slow down toward the end of that year.
Finally, people should keep in mind that it is not necessary for a coin to focus entirely on the environment for it to be green. For example, Nano Coin does not involve mining, and it has features such as being lightweight as well – these two qualities make it a more environmentally friendly option than Bitcoin.