Author: Gerard Ferreira
If you’ve been paying attention to Blockchain/crypto lately, you’ve probably seen talk, especially via Papa Elon Musk’s tweets, alluding to Blockchain being bad for the environment.
What you may not have got is an explanation for WHY blockchain has been promoted almost to the level of Captain Planet villain. Hoggish Greedly take note…
PoS versus PoW
Proof of Work (PoW) and Proof of Stake (PoS) methodologies were previously explained, but to recap: in a PoW system, nodes race against each other to solve a hash equation.
PoS Blockchains, on the other hand, see nodes chosen to create the next block based on how much crypto they have ‘staked’ in the system.
PoW has been the most popular system, is still used by King Crypto – Bitcoin – and is the main culprit in the ‘Blockchain = environment killer’ argument. PoW miners use significant processing power and with thousands of rigs running across the world, from amateur setups to massive mining farms, the electrical requirement is enormous.
Digiconomist currently estimates the annual electrical energy required by Bitcoin ALONE to be 143.40 TWh. For perspective, that is the power consumption of Ukraine, with the carbon footprint of Israel.
Energy and Sustainability
Regionally, Trinidad and Tobago has one of the cheapest electricity rates in the world, so local miners have taken advantage of this over the years to recoup rig investment and generate profits faster than their international counterparts. This resulted in increased electrical demands across the country.
However, things are changing.
Thanks in part to international pushback and (actual) influencers speaking against the environmental impact of Crypto, many Blockchains have started transitioning or opting for a PoS model, which doesn’t need nodes solving complex problems and so requires significantly less power.
Ethereum is the most notable, with its next iteration, Etherum 2.0, using PoS (expected to be released within the next year), but it is far from alone.
Now that PoW is viewed by many as unsustainable, options like PoS that are faster, more efficient, scalable and sustainable are entering taking center stage.
Within the next 6 to 12 months, we can expect a shift in consensus methodology and a positive turn in public perception of Blockchain, like that of Sly Sludge (reformed Captain Planet character).
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