A few years ago, it was predicted that Bitcoin might consume all of the World’s Energy by 2020. Thankfully, it didn’t happen. However, the energy debate around crypto platforms continued—oftentimes, the energy consumption of crypto platforms is compared to countries.
According to Digiconomist, the energy consumption of Bitcoin is equivalent to the consumption by countries like Pakistan or UAE or Norway alone. Through comparison graphs, the crypto sceptic platform uses different methods to portray the large amount of energy consumption by crypto platforms like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
However, in the past few months, the energy debate is moving towards a different direction since the proof-of-stake consensus mechanism was adopted by Ethereum.
How Ethereum overturned energy debate
On September 15, 2022, Ethereum announced Merge and became a complete Proof of Stake (PoS) blockchain platform.
Proof of Stake is an energy-efficient alternative to Proof of Work. The Ethereum Foundation asserts that it will increase the network’s energy efficiency by over 99%. Prior to Merge, Ethereum used around 112 terawatts of electricity annually. Developers claim that since Merge, the second-largest cryptocurrency in the world, has moved to a “green blockchain”, resulting in a 0.2% decrease in global electricity use. That was Merge’s effect on the world.
“Post-merge, the Ethereum network’s electricity consumption has been reduced by over 99.98% and the carbon footprint by over 99.99% (CCRI, 2022f),” said Stefan Renton, Sustainability Lead, Polygon Technology.
He added that the reduction corresponds to shrinking the Eiffel tower to the size of a plastic toy figure.
Many Ethereum-based layer 2 solutions like Polygon, Optimism, Starkware and Arbitrum have also adopted PoS and contributed to the new, energy-efficient crypto discussion.
Polygon claims that as the most energy intensive operations of its network occur on Ethereum, this has also dramatically reduced Polygon’s energy consumption and carbon footprint.
Layer 2 solutions take sustainability seriously
Polygon Network’s annual carbon footprint has been reduced from 60,953 t/CO2 (past) to 55 t/CO2 (current) per year.
“At Polygon, we do not only think about blockchain sustainability, we see blockchains as a sustainability solution. We believe that operating responsibly is just the starting line. We see blockchains and distributed ledger technology supporting and scaling lasting positive impact on the world, helping create a healthier, fairer, thriving planet,” said Renton.
He added that the platform is moving forward to act as a base layer for collaboration between climate action leaders, conscious technologists, scientists and the Polygon community to innovate and develop new solutions to their most critical problems. “We are leveraging our core products and services to accelerate action and protect tomorrow.”
Beyond energy-efficiency, Web3 companies are now leading the battle against climate change with the blockchain-based solution.
Winning the battle from land to air to sea
As more companies adopted a net zero emissions policy in response to the growing concern over climate change, voluntary carbon markets have exploded in recent years.
Howere, there is a lack of an independent rating system that makes it impossible to judge the quality of a project. Besides, there are too many intermediaries collecting exorbitant fees, and closed-door transactions distort price signals, so offset procedures have remained complex even as demand has increased.
Coorest has launched NFTrees, a project that develops tokens linked to actual trees in the real world and a decentralised ecosystem for carbon emission compensation. As soon as a tree is planted, its owner can start collecting $CCO2 tokens equal to the amount of CO2 the tree will sequester in the real world. The $CCO2 coins can then either be used to offset carbon emissions or be sold.
Ocean Conservation Exploration and Education Foundation (OCEEF), a not-for-profit organisation for ocean research, has joined hands with Polygon to spread ocean literacy through Metaverse. OCEEF will allow the general public to explore its research vessel, the ‘RV Odyssey’. People can explore facilities and be the part of deep-seas missions through an interactive experience in the world of Metaverse.
These are some of the recent developments in crypto history that have completely changed the narrative. There is continuous effort from the Web3 community to debunk the negative beliefs of people about crypto, NFT and blockchain.