Thought to consider? Bitcoin is the dominant digital currency on the global stage, but its dominance is not guaranteed, not when you consider the environmental impact it has on the planet.
And while some see the extreme cost of Bitcoin mining as a catalyst for change, most believe that these high energy requirements are not sustainable. Ripple’s executive chairman Christ Larsen is in the latter camp, who thinks developers and miners need to ditch Proof-of-Work (PoW).
This is a consensus mechanism that serves as the underlying technology for Bitcoin, and is the one causing a massive drain on power consumption.
It is also a growing source of CO2 emissions, according to Larsen in his blog post.
In its stead, the executive argues core developers, miners, and exchanges should consider moving away from the years old mechanism to something that is less taxing on the environment — even if it is something entirely new:
“Cryptocurrencies that use PoW should consider a code change to another validation method such as Proof-of-Stake (PoS) or Federated Consensus (or something yet to be developed).”
PoW, he says, is a brilliantly designed technology, but one that is becoming outdated in today’s world. It is time for the crypto community to embrace a mechanism that is low energy, a low carbon alternative to secure their ledgers.
The PoW consensus mechanism is costly.
Current draw from Bitcoin alone amounts to an average of 113 TWh, enough to power 12 million US homes according to data from Cambridge University. This damage to the environment is also considerable, with an estimated 63 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) released every year.
Something’s gotta give!
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