Has crypto found a solution to the carbon problem?

Has the carbon problem genuinely been solved by crypto, or is this just wishful thinking?

© image: inside bitcoins

Since the beginning of time, cryptocurrencies have been portrayed as the villains of fairytale climate stories who abuse ever-increasing power for what seems to be the benefit of a small number of people. Now the story is going in a different direction. In order to reduce its overall energy use by almost 99%, Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency in the world, has unveiled improvements to its multi-billion dollar operations. Could this be an early sign that cryptocurrencies are developing into the decentralised system they have long been predicted to become, transforming banking, economics, and even even environmental policy? Or when twelve o’clock comes around, will everything go back to normal?

Coins are starting to turn green.

1.Fewer calculations and less emissions.

The fossil fuel business may have invented traditional cryptocurrencies, but new currencies are created by users who must solve ever-harder mathematical challenges, requiring ever-larger server farms. Ethereum uses some horrifyingly complex algorithms that use a lot less CPU resources to slow down that approaching train. As a result, Ethereum should consume less energy globally than 1,000 typical US homes rather than equaling the annual energy consumption of the Netherlands.

2. An environment with greater resilience?

Hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of digital artwork NFTs as well as potential smart contracts that could offer security and transparency are supported by the Ethereum blockchain technology. It’s more than just a coin. Academics have long argued that if energy use could be decreased, blockchain technologies may make sophisticated carbon trading systems, recycling product tracking, and green financing more affordable and available.

There are a number of carbon-backed currencies that are specifically designed to fight climate change. They frequently link new coins to the issuance of carbon credits, but they are currently only a tiny portion the size of Ethereum or Bitcoin. For instance, each currency you buy is a representation of real carbon assets, like trees. The World Economic Forum recently established a Crypto Impact and Sustainability Accelerator to research their potential benefits.

Less bad is not necessarily better, and vice versa.

Although Ethereum uses less energy than it once did, according to Digiconomist, it still utilises about 20 times as much energy each transaction as a centralised system like Mastercard. According to Maximilian Holland in CleanTechnica, there is an opportunity cost because this work is essentially unnecessary and wasteful in compared to useful alternatives. This is the chance that was lost to employ this energy for household well-being and other essential economic functions.

Smart contracts are not the focus of cryptocurrency mining; it is about getting quick money. The BBC reports that some Ethereum miners have already started mining Bitcoin again. Bitcoin, the biggest and most energy-consuming cryptocurrency, utilises about 0.5 percent of the electricity generated globally. A recent study from the University of New Mexico that was published in Nature explains this. According to studies, every dollar earned in bitcoin results in $0.35 worth of global climate damage due to the production of beef or the consumption of fuel.

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