Green Alternatives: Eco-friendly Mining
On the 22nd of April, the world celebrates International Mother Earth Day, when it is especially relevant to think about our common home and ways to preserve it. The holiday, established by the UN General Assembly in 2009, is intended to remind us of the necessity to fulfill the environmental commitments made at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. Last week we devoted to ecology in cryptocurrencies, and in this article, we want to discuss a pressing issue for the whole crypto community, namely, the environmental friendliness of mining.
What is wrong with traditional mining?
Cryptocurrency mining uses a large amount of electricity. The amount of electricity required to run the Bitcoin network can be compared to the amount of energy consumed by the populations of entire countries. In China, most of the BTC is mined in coal plants, which increases the overall carbon level. The carbon footprint of mining is undeniably harmful to the environment, which has been repeatedly discussed by representatives of leading countries and influential entrepreneurs.
In addition to the fact that mining harms the environment, it is also quite expensive. A great number of miners complain about the electricity costs, which forces them even to change their places of residence. For example, the countries of Northern Europe and Canada are considered popular for crypto migration due to the cool climate.
If no decisive action is taken, traditional mining may not only cause irreversible damage to the cryptocurrency industry but also lead to an environmental disaster. These two factors are forcing more and more people to think about alternative ways of mining crypto, which will mark a new “green” era for digital assets.
What is the solution?
Alternative energy sources have been talked about for more than a year. Moreover, they are already being used to the full extent by large enterprises and ordinary citizens. Aware miners are also slowly moving towards greener cryptocurrency mining options to help save both the industry and the environment.
It is a known fact that the use of solar panels helps reduce energy costs. Mining with the help of solar energy is already quite common in middle latitudes, in countries with a warm climate and numerous sunny days. This method is already proving its effectiveness in Africa and Asia. However, high temperature contributes to the rapid heating of the equipment, leading to extra expenses.
So far, the most affordable alternative way to mine cryptocurrency is hydropower mining. Mining farms are built on the basis of hydroelectric power generated by the water current. And in some central provinces of China, mining with the help of hydroelectric power plants has contributed to the development of the hydropower industry itself due to ideal environmental conditions.
If the first two types of alternative mining have already become widespread throughout the world, then mining with wind energy is still a relatively difficult task. However, windy weather conditions are ideal for eco-miners from the countries of Northern Europe, as well as some island nations. Most often, this method is used in combination with hydromining or solar-powered mining — mining farms in China and Japan are considered a great example.
The future of green alternatives
The blockchain industry aims not only to introduce technological innovations but also to comply with the progressive ideas of society. Protecting and improving the environment is one of the priorities of the blockchain giants, just think of the modernization of Ethereum with its transition to a more “green” PoS consensus algorithm. The use of green energy is beneficial for every miner who wants to save funds because it is much cheaper and easier. It is difficult to disagree that the transition to renewable energy sources for cryptocurrency mining is just a matter of time.