Cryptocurrency (aka crypto) is becoming a popular investment that is purchased and sold. In addition, some companies allow this virtual currency to be accepted as payment for goods and/or services. Crypto, though, isn’t without its downsides. Unfortunately, the mining of crypto can be an energy drain.
SolarCoin’s sustainability might be self-explanatory from its name. SolarCoin’s site explains that it “…incentivizes a solar-powered planet.” SolarCoins are provided to those who install solar panels. How does this work?
SolarCoin explains that those who install solar panels can file a claim. Then they need to download a wallet that is Ethereum compatible and also include a receiving address. The wallet is basically a payment account for receiving crypto. Solar producers earn a SolarCoin for each 1MWh of electricity; however, this must be verified.
Per SolarCoin, those who earn this crypto can spend them, exchange the coins, etc. SolarCoin is all about rewarding those who invest in sustainable solutions for electricity.
Powerledger as a company “…develops software solutions for the tracking, tracing and trading of renewable energy.” Its crypto—also called Powerledger—uses less energy. The company offers a detailed description on how it works: “The Solana design is both faster and less energy intensive than the existing proof-of-work blockchains, as it utilizes Proof-of-History and Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus mechanisms….”
Cardano also is a proof-of-stake platform and was the first to implement Ouroboros, which Cardano noted was “…the most environmentally sustainable blockchain protocol.”
Stellar lets users create, trade and send different types of currency—dollars, bitcoin, etc. Economic Times reported that this crypto is sustainable as it is very efficient and “…can make trades for a fraction of a cent….” The news site also noted that authentication was more efficient—shorter and faster. All this makes the crypto much more energy-efficient than some other options.
Nano is a fee-less crypto, but, for those who want a sustainable crypto, this currency also doesn’t require mining. Nano’s site also notes that it also doesn’t involve minting or even printing.
Where Can Consumers Use Crypto?
While crypto is becoming a more widely accepted form of payment, consumers might not find that they can use those digital coins at boutiques or stores. While some businesses are on the cutting edge of these new payment options, those who have a wallet full of crypto might need to research where it can be used.
In addition, some crypto is more widely accepted than others.
Why is Crypto Considered an Energy Drain?
While money is minted, crypto is ‘mined.’ This process zaps a lot of energy, and, while crypto isn’t something a consumer can hold in their hand, even a digital footprint digs a deep carbon footprint.
However, all money uses energy. Paper money is printed, and this process requires massive machinery and human labor, too. Coins are minted; again, this involves numerous processes. The metal is mined, then it’s formed and stamped into the money that sits in a wallet.
Even digital transactions like online purchases use energy. When a homeowner turns on their computer, they are using electricity. The ATM requires power. The human tellers at a bank turn on lights and use computers, too.
The financial system and every single transaction in it requires energy. For this reason, all currency is going to leave a carbon footprint. The question for homeowners might be which currency is the most energy efficient?
Not all crypto is sustainable. In fact, some types of crypto are incredibly inefficient; their mining process is an energy drain.
As forms of currency evolve, consumers might research the best options that enable them to live greener and more sustainably.
No Crypto? No Problem!
Some consumers don’t want a digital wallet full of crypto. How can they make their other financial habits more sustainable, though?
Is using a debit card a more sustainable option than using cash? Even something as innocent as swiping a credit or debit card requires energy—electricity in the case of a card reader. Cash could be more sustainable, as it can literally be recycled through to other users.
Online banking also could be more sustainable than driving to the bank. Cars require fuel, and cars also pollute the air. The carbon footprint could be deep for a small trip to the bank.
Perhaps there isn’t a single more sustainable financial payment option. Yet, being mindful of habits can help all consumers understand their energy consumption and maybe help keep their carbon footprint from being so deep. Is crypto the key to a more eco-friendly payment system or is something better on the digital horizon?