There’s no denying that bitcoin has great promise. Since it first emerged on the financial plane roughly ten years ago, the currency has come a long way and is changing the world of monetary trading as we know it.
Bitcoin and Its Carbon Emissions
Unfortunately, not everyone is convinced that it has something to offer. One of the big problems with bitcoin that continually gets in the way is its carbon footprint, which according to some analysts is bigger than one might expect. In the past, it’s been suggested that the amount of electricity used to mine bitcoin is equal to what’s necessary for powering both the country of Austria and the city of Las Vegas. It has also been suggested that bitcoin mining uses more energy than the entire nation of Ireland.
China, a country that has had a rather mixed relationship with bitcoin in the past, is presently considering a full and permanent ban on crypto and bitcoin mining given the amount of energy required. Regulators say that this presents hazards to the environment, though the country has yet to take any official action regarding such a ban, and some wonder if the notion is just an idle threat. After all, such a ban would require companies like Bitmain – massive sources of revenue for China – to relocate elsewhere.
Nevertheless, bitcoin’s carbon footprint is a concern for many, which is why many firms are introducing new coins and products designed to offset emissions. One such venture is Switzerland’s Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Luasanne, which has been working on a zero-emission energy alternative to bitcoin.
Professor Guerraoui Rachid explains in a statement:
We developed an algorithm that enables payment in a secure and efficient manner. Essentially, unlike bitcoin and its alternatives, the algorithm we propose does not require reaching global agreement about the ordering of all transactions.
To do this, he and the team working on the project are revamping the present bitcoin model. This involves the creation of a bitcoin consensus distributed system that requires all traders to agree on transaction validity. Typically, this involves computing tasks that deplete several ounces of energy, but by requiring aid from the entire bitcoin community, only a few grams of carbon are required instead of the 300 kilograms that are typically used for a single bitcoin transaction.
Trying to Fix the Issue
Rachid further states:
The problem we are solving is called double payment, and it is the main problem posed by Nakamoto… We basically looked carefully at the problem and realized that you do not need a heavy consensus-based solution. If, hypothetically, Alice wants to send money to Bob, it is enough for Bob to ask around if Alice was not trying to cheat and give the same money to somebody else.