Generation Earth
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Footprint Analysis | Crypto | Cashless Society

The Footprint of Crypto: How Polluting is It?

How polluting is Bitcoin exactly? .. and are there eco-friendlier methods?

Let me dive right in—and just give you facts:

Energy: 78 TWh of electricity¹
Carbon: 37000KG of CO2²
_____________
¹ Equivalent to Chili's Energy consumption
² Same as New Zealand's Carbon footprint
Note: numbers relate to Bitcoin only
Should we move to a cashless society? — and can crypto help us build it? ~ Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash

Proof of work

Huge Crypto Farms keep BTC (Bitcoin) up and running. They are a modern take on factories:

huge halls where only computers do the work.

Those farms ensure that every transaction and trade is accounted for: they stamp each BTC transaction on the ‘Blockchain’ for the entire world to see. But—most importantly — they solve mathematical formulas in return for a BTC reward.

That is an (incomplete) description of the Proof of Work system.

Proof of Stake

The Crypto world has caught on with environmental concerns. They realize that such huge farms are both cost and energy inefficient. That’s why some Crypto coins have adopted a Proof of Stake system.

The POS system disposes of crypto farms entirely. Instead, people can set aside their holdings to act as a verifyer on the network.

Check Investopedia to learn more

Future / Progress

Many small coins use the POS system at the moment, but larger ones are adopting the system too.

For instance:

Ethereum (2nd largest crypto) will soon change its system from POW to POS

… And there is talk about Bitcoin having to make the same change in the future.

With these changes, the energy consumption and carbon footprint of crypto could drastically decrease. In fact, it could help us transit to a ‘cashless society’ where no more trees should be cut for dollar bills.

So, while some in our community woe crypto for its ecological footprint, we should embrace it and see its upsides. It could, in fact, help combat climate change.

~ Jay Samuelson

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Magazine for Environmentalism & Nature

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Jay Samuelson

Jay Samuelson

Editor at https://onlinemuseum.net

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