How To Make Cryptocurrency More Sustainable

Cryptocurrency in and of itself is not dangerous for the environment. However, units of cryptocurrency are produced through the energy-intensive process of mining, which speeds up the world’s fossil fuel consumption, especially as crypto investments become more mainstream.

The rise of cryptocurrency is at odds with consumers’ growing gravitation toward environmentally friendly initiatives. At the same time, crypto as a payment method and means of investment satisfies consumers’ desire for convenience and digital interaction.

It also goes against their growing desire for eco-friendly businesses. If cryptocurrency doesn’t align with sustainable shopping practices soon, its users may begin to weigh its negatives as far greater than its positives and return to traditional fiat currencies.

Reducing The Environmental Impact Of Cryptocurrency

The good news is the crypto industry can make changes to lessen its environmental impact while giving businesses and consumers the same much-needed perks. Here are four ways that crypto and sustainability can converge.

Sustainability Begins With Smart Technology

The transition toward more sustainable crypto mining doesn’t have to be complex. Many of the technologies that can be used to pave the way toward sustainability can be found right in our homes.

Just as smart thermostats and smart lighting systems can monitor and prune off excess energy usage, smart technology can minimize waste in the crypto-mining process.

Using smart tech to keep an eye on energy usage can also make setting sustainability goals and milestones easier instead of moving toward a big, undefined, and sometimes intimidating goal of sustainability.

Crypto miners can see in real-time how far their current energy consumption is below (or above) where they started in real-time.

Proof of Stake Systems Is Key to Wide-Scale Change

Many of the top cryptocurrencies on the market currently use proof of work (PoW) to validate transactions. With PoW, computers need to solve complex puzzles to complete verifications, and validators compete to solve the same puzzles.

This is where the idea of “mining,” which uses massive energy, comes from.

While Ethereum — the top cryptocurrency in the market, right behind Bitcoin — currently requires traders to solve complex mathematical equations to receive Ether, it’s also leading the way toward a shift in the crypto industry.

Ethereum plans to transition to a proof-of-stake (PoS) system to cut its energy usage by a massive 99.95%.

PoS systems still offer tokens as rewards, but validators are chosen at random. Instead of inefficiently working on the same complex puzzles, validators need to put up a small amount of their cryptocurrency as collateral for a chance at getting selected.

This collateral and the need for multiple validators prevent fraudulent transactions while getting rid of the energy-intensive competitive element of mining.

Renewable Energy Can Reduce Carbon Emissions

Another avenue the cryptocurrency industry can take to improve sustainability is embracing renewable energy. Instead of consuming a massive amount of fossil fuels, traders can shift toward solar energy, wind energy, or other eco-friendly options.

Some crypto mining companies, like Genesis Mining and Aspen Creek Digital Corporation, are already leading the movement toward renewable energy-based mining.

Renewable energy could indeed increase the costs of mining. However, as renewable energy systems continuously improve and become more widely adopted, they can become a practical option for all mining companies.

The rising availability of government subsidies for renewable energy may also contribute to more sustainable cryptocurrencies in the future.

Carbon Offsets Offer an Immediate Alternative

While transitions to proof of stake and renewable energy systems can take lots of time and money, one step that the cryptocurrency industry can take to make a difference immediately is offsetting their carbon emissions.

Contributing to carbon offsetting projects — such as tree planting projects and landfill management — can help anyone in the crypto industry cancel out their carbon footprint and create a greener world.

Some eco-friendly cryptocurrencies take a similar route by rewarding users for their green actions. For example, Solarcoin rewards solar energy generators, while Bitgreen rewards users for carpooling, volunteering, and even drinking eco-friendly coffee.

Investors can immediately encourage crypto companies to go green by choosing sustainable options over traditional coins like Bitcoin.

Crypto and Sustainability Can Blend Together

The popularity of cryptocurrency is soaring, but without swift action to correct its detrimental environmental impact, consumers may turn their backs on crypto.

People around the world are increasingly demanding sustainable business practices, and no matter how valuable and convenient a cryptocurrency is, it will fall behind the times if it continues to use excessive amounts of energy.

Transitioning to proof of stake systems is one of the most effective methods the crypto industry can use to become more eco-friendly. Mining companies can further reduce their impact by using renewable energy sources.

Amid the industry’s transformation, anyone interested in crypto can contribute to carbon-offsetting projects and opt to invest in eco-friendly cryptocurrency options.

Lavanya Rathnam

Lavanya Rathnam is an experienced technology, finance, and compliance writer. She combines her keen understanding of regulatory frameworks and industry best practices with exemplary writing skills to communicate complex concepts of Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) in clear and accessible language. Lavanya specializes in creating informative and engaging content that educates and empowers readers to make informed decisions. She also works with different companies in the Web 3.0, blockchain, fintech, and EV industries to assess their products’ compliance with evolving regulations and standards.

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