As I write post reading and flipping through various news I noticed that on some topics there are enough contradictions..specialmente on the energy consumption of the Blockchain..this article I read says that the blockchain consumes a lot, too much energy, even more than that required to extract some metals from mineral deposits.
To this conclusion a recent study has been published, published in Nature Sustainability, here an excerpt, in which the authors highlight the enormous energy expenditure of the computer processes that regulate the exchanges of the main crypto currencies. , for example the Bitcoins.
Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Monero are the four virtual currencies examined in the document: they all use blockchain technology to validate transactions on a “block chain” digital register, through an incessant “mining” job that allows, literally, to extract new currency.
The point, notes the study, is that to generate the equivalent of a dollar in crypto currencies, we use an amount of energy higher than what is needed to derive the same market value (a dollar) by extracting a precious metal from the subsoil.
In fact, the authors argue, the energy needed to obtain a dollar in Bitcoin is about 17 mega joules (MJ) against respectively 4, 5 and 7 MJ that must be consumed on average to create an equivalent market value (1 $) in silver, gold and platinum with conventional mining activities.
The other crypto currencies are not much better, because we speak of 7-14 MJ “burnt” on average by blockchain technology, always referring to a dollar of value generated.
The estimates concern the period from 1 January 2016 to 30 June 2018.
Only the extraction of aluminum consumes even more energy: 22 MJ according to the data reported by the study.
So we return to the main criticism of the interconnected digital networks: the extremely high consumption of electricity, due to the considerable computing power required to guarantee the safety of the operations carried out on these networks, through proof-of-work verification systems (work test) ).
Can a blockchain be considered “sustainable” from an environmental point of view?
The question is pertinent, especially when one thinks of the many projects in progress to apply blockchain to the sectors traditionally managed by energy utilities, ie for example to develop widespread networks of active users who self-produce and sell photovoltaic kilowatt hours.
The study estimated at least 3-15 million tons of the CO2 emitted by mining activities for the four virtual currencies in two and a half years (1 January 2016 – 30 June 2018), most of which is attributable to Bitcoins.
To achieve cleaner “clean” blockchains with less environmental impact, there are several possibilities: among these, move computing centers in regions with plenty of low-cost renewable energy (in Iceland for example), or adopt simpler systems for control and the validation of transactions, such as those called proof-of-authority (proof of authority, see also our interview with Colleen Metelitsa of GTM Research).
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