One of the primary issues that many authorities have against the rising number of cryptocurrencies popping up throughout the world is how the process of mining some of these – Bitcoin mostly – comes at a great environmental cost. As Britain’s Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index puts it, the power expended mining for Bitcoin within a year would be enough to boil enough water for every cup of tea brewed in the UK for the next 30 years!
This is mostly because mining cryptocurrencies uses numerous resources, particularly fossil fuels.
The issue opens up several questions, the most important of which are whether or not it’s possible to mine cryptocurrencies in a safer and more eco-friendly manner. Also, are there any green alternatives to Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other first-generation cryptos?
The good news is that six cryptocurrencies are set to change the game when it comes to making the sector more environmentally sensible.
A Greener Way to Get Into Cryptos
Rather than jumping into the crypto fray by buying Bitcoin or any of the other big players, experts are pointing out the economic and environmental merits of investing in smaller currencies with a significantly lower carbon footprint, as well as the means to make production more energy-efficient.
Researchers at TRG Datacenters are asking potential investors to consider the likes of IOTA, Cardano, Chia, Nano, Solarcoin, and Bitgreen.
Chia, for example, doesn’t mine its coin but “farms” for it, instead. Its developers rely on more energy-efficient hard drives rather than massive computer processors, which eat up a great deal of energy. Even the process can be said to be gentler on the environment: once users install the software to their laptops or desktops, it starts plotting and starts farming, using very little in the way of electricity.
On the other hand, Cardano’s proof of state system Ouroboros saves energy by requiring its users to buy tokens to join the network and run on a relatively small amount of power. Ouroboros can also be scaled up or down depending on requirements. It also delivers more output: Cardano can hit up to a thousand transactions in a mere second compared to Bitcoin’s seven. This crypto also ranks fifth overall on the global list of the top-performing cryptocurrencies.
IOTA is another crypto that doesn’t bank on a mining system. Unlike Chia, however, it works on smaller devices, making its carbon footprint significantly lower than most of its competitors.
While Nano runs on a proof of work basis similar to Bitcoin’s, this cryptocurrency actively works to reduce its production of waste materials. In order to do so, it uses an Open Representative Voting protocol which boosts system efficiency while using less in terms of energy resources. Nano also has the advantage of being free to trade and instant transfers.
Sustainability is the hallmark of the last two cryptos on the list. Solarcoin’s name says it all: this independent global cryptocurrency was developed to promote solar energy generation. Its unique selling proposition offers one coin per megawatt-hour generated via solar means.
Bitgreen, on the other hand, was initially developed as a more eco-friendly alternative to Bitcoin. Like Solarcoin, users earn coins by doing environmentally-mindful activities, including consuming sustainable products, volunteering for different causes, and even carpooling.