Cryptocurrency is hot right now. But this currency can zap energy. Why? Blame the mining process! Yes, crypto can leave quite a carbon footprint.
In fact, all currency leaves a carbon footprint. It takes energy to print those bills and mint those coins. Crypto is no exception. Get ready to look at the most energy efficient cryptocurrency, and the crypto that leaves a deeper environmental mark.
The Least Energy-Efficient Cryptocurrency? Bitcoin!
Real Simple reports that Bitcoin holds the title for least energy-efficient crypto. According to the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index. Bitcoin yearly consumes 0.31 percent of the world’s electricity and 0.06 percent of the world’s total energy.
However, the mining process is where Bitcoin really…shines. While mining gold consumes 131 TWh, Bitcoin’s mining consumes 68.61 TWh. Yes, gold is the winner here, but the popular crypto coins definitely consume their share. Keep in mind, however, that, according to Real Simple, the country of Argentina consumes less electricity each year than Bitcoin mining.
The Energy Savers: The Most Energy-Efficient Cryptocurrency
Laptop Magazine compiled a list of the most energy-efficient cryptocurrencies. Here’s how a few stack up!
According to the magazine, Ripple is the most energy-efficient of the crypto choices. It uses 0.0079 kilowatts per hour for every transaction.
Per Laptop Magazine, this crypto uses 0.12 kilowatts per hour for each transaction.
Investorplace reports that “The Cardano Foundation estimates that the Cardano blockchain is four million times more energy-efficient than Bitcoin.” Cardano was founded by Charles Hoskinson who was the co-founder of another crypto called Ethereum.
Cardano uses 0.5479 kilowatts per hour for each transaction.
Other Cryptos with Lower Carbon Footprints than Bitcoin
Laptop Magazine also named Litecoin on its list and mentioned Bitcoin Cash, too. However, Leafscore compiled a list of energy-efficient cryptocurrencies. It also included Cardano and Ripple but several others made it onto the list. Here are a few other cryptocurrencies that might be green friendly:
SolarCoin took the top spot of energy-efficiency. Judging from its name, this should come as no surprise. Leafscore explains that “SolarCoin has a novel approach to cryptocurrency, creating 1 Solarcoin for every Megawatt hour generated from solar technology.”
Users actually can receive BitGreen by making choices that positively impact the climate/environment. Leafscore explains that this includes taking a rideshare, buying ‘green’ coffee and even with their volunteer efforts.
Stellar and its Lumens lets people send money quickly (kind of like PayPal). Stellar explains on its website that “…the end-user experience is more like cash–Stellar is much faster, cheaper, and more energy-efficient than typical blockchain-based systems.”
What about Traditional Money?
Crypto might be the new type of currency, but many people just use traditional dollars and cents for payments. Even minting paper and coins, though, leaves a mark on the environment. Ready to be shocked, though? Minting pennies might be even less energy-efficient than mining Bitcoin!
According to an opinion piece on MarketWatch, minting 1.2 million pennies leaves more of an energy impact than mining a Bitcoin. The article, though, had to use data that wasn’t provided by the U.S. So is Bitcoin more energy-efficient than more than a million pennies? That could still be up for debate!
Why is the comparison being made to 1.2 million pennies, though? According to the article, that’s the price of one traded Bitcoin. So the comparison had to be one to one.
Online Banking Uses Energy, Too!
When individuals are eyeing the environmental impact of their financial activities, online banking also might be part of an individual carbon footprint, too.
How much time is spent paying bills online or making other transactions? When using online sites via a computer, the time spent online is using electricity.
Driving to the bank also leaves an impact. There’s the price of gas, emissions from the car. The electricity in the bank. Spending money and even saving money all leave an impact.
While individuals can’t stop banking or driving to their financial institutions, it’s interesting to think about how everything we do affects the environment in some way. Every minted coin and printed dollar uses energy. When we make purchases, we’ve consumed some type of energy. Is there really a way to go green when spending or saving green?
Just being aware of energy use might be a great way to live a little greener and manage an individual environmental impact. While understanding the environmental impact of currency can be beneficial, individual carbon footprints can be lessened by creating an energy-efficient home and finding ways to stop energy waste.