08 / 01 / 22
At the beginning of crypto, when the industry was first developing this groundbreaking currency system, the crypto ecosystem was not exactly friendly to the existing ecosystem. But luckily, the industry is evolving. At first, Blockchain, the decentralized ledger that simultaneously records crypto and other transactions in multiple places across the internet, took up a great deal of energy. The on-chain bitcoin confirmations, completed independently by multiple miners, take up electricity and require machines to compute the complex mathematical confirmations and solve for cipher.
Old computers had large servers that took up a lot of energy, but we got more efficient over time. Computers, cars, TVs and even sailboats have gotten more efficient as industries evolve and we put the well-being of our planet at the forefront of our business models.
The energy efficiency of the crypto industry is evolving in ways that mirror the innovation and forward-thinking philosophy of the industry itself. Ethereum’s upcoming move to proof of stake in September of 2022, rather than Bitcoin’s original proof of work process, is expected to save up to 99% of the energy consumed.
“As a company operating within the crypto industry, we have a responsibility to add a sustainability lens to our decision-making process,” said CEO of CryptoBucks Eric Brown. “Luckily, we have plenty of bright, innovative minds working on exciting new ways to ensure the future of our environment is as bright as the future of our industry.”
The crypto industry is showing we are more efficient by nature – no printing, expensive shipping (in terms of carbon footprint), or troublesome tree consumption. And that we are committed to sustainable alternatives as we evolve. Different blockchains are getting more efficient with lightning technology, computed transactions that are faster and require less energy, and sidechains, like polygon, are more efficient overall.
The 2020 Global CryptoAsset Benchmarking Study, conducted by the University of Cambridge, showed that 76% of hashers used a renewable energy source as part of their energy mix, and 39% used entirely renewable resources.
Here is a rundown of the crypto ecosphere’s exploration of alternative and renewable energy options.
The most widely available renewable energy source is solar panels with photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight into electricity. In this CNBC article, you can read how Tesla, Block and Blockstream team up to mine bitcoin off solar power in Texas.
Hydroelectric energy is created when water is held at a higher location and then released to a lower location using gravity to generate a powerful enough current to convert the flow into energy – think Hoover Dam! Hydropower is the largest reported power source for crypto mining, according to the Global CryptoAsset Benchmarking Study. Countries like Costa Rica embrace crypto mining to leverage their existing hydroelectric infrastructure.
Tidal energy is similar to hydroelectricity, however, it uses the natural currents of the ocean to generate power with strategically placed turbines. This Action Renewables article, Everything you need to know about tidal energy, explains how it works. Tidal energy is being harnessed in the crypto industry with projects like France’s the Ocean Miner, a hydraulic turbine that converts the power of the ocean to electricity for a computer dedicated to mining.
An exciting renewable energy source is coming from volcanoes, where miners are able to use geothermal energy to power hashing. Countries like El Salvador have not only embrace cryptocurrency, but are finding ways to do so sustainably with geothermal energy as shown in this video How El Salvador is mining bitcoin with volcanoes.
Another exciting new option is burning waste to produce energy – mining landfills and abandoned coal factories to take the refuse and repurpose it for crypto mining energy. Companies like XcelPlus International are using plasma gasification technology to burn waste and capture energy to help evolve sustainability in the crypto industry.
Windmills convert the power of air currents to energy and are a terrific source of renewable power due to the lower cost and stability of the power source. However, the energy is expensive to transport, so having a location near the source is essential. China’s decision to ban crypto mining has many miners searching for new areas where renewable energy is abundant and places like Australia and Texas, with existing windmill installations, are attractive options.
Nuclear energy is generated from the controlled process of a nuclear reaction, where atoms are split to create heat, which boils water into steam with fewer emissions and more efficiency than most types of energy. This clean energy can be harnessed to power homes, businesses, and crypto mining. Companies like Energy Harbor and Standard Power have teamed up to create a nuclear-powered mining facility in Ohio.
Bitcoin miners are using the plume created when harvesting natural gas to power the confirmation process, blocking it from being released into the atmosphere. By avoiding the waste of flare gas, Bitcoin miners and fracking companies are working together to improve crypto’s carbon footprint. In Adams County, Colorado regulators are working to catch up with the progressive crypto industry, recognizing these are positive changes to be embraced.
We know that more consumers are serious about climate change. Are businesses and government listening? At CryptoBucks the answer is a resounding yes. We are working with our partners in the crypto community to embrace our environment and are working toward becoming carbon neutral.
We know that certain blockchains and cryptocurrencies are designed to be more efficient. We want to prioritize these coins. One thing we consider is how efficient this coin is at the mining stage. When evaluating coins to add to our exchange, we look at many factors, including speed, cost, power, developers, use case scenarios, and what value it brings to both people and the planet.
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