The aggressively progressive amounts of electricity that is attributed to mining cryptocurrencies is nowhere near subsided. This particular issue has been causing a lot of concern among the advocates of the environment. Due to the massive consumption of electricity which is generated by environmentally hazardous means, an academic has voiced his concerns in a Paper. The paper is titled, ‘Decarbonizing Bitcoin: Law and policy choices for reducing the energy consumption of Blockchain technologies and digital currencies’.
Dr. Jon Truby, the director of the Centre for Law and Development at Qatar University has claimed that the advantages blockchain technology provides, have been receded due to the extreme harm it is causing to the environment. The safety of our environment holds a lot more importance to be sacrificed for mining a cryptocurrency. Therefore, he has provided a solution in order to prevent the catastrophic effects that may follow due to the inability to guard our environment.
Truby has mentioned that blockchain technology is here to stay. Since the advent of the cryptocurrencies, their popularity has been increasing and it is also predicted that it will be continually taken up by the masses who are grasping its advantages over the centralized currencies. The developers are producing a new currency every day and the cost to mine these coins is increasing consequently. The incorporation of this technology has colossal impact on the environment because of the use of non-renewable sources of energy, which are being used to power the mining equipment of the cryptocurrencies. Due to these concerns, a model has to be designed in the future that should be adopted to save the environment from any further harm. Trudy states,
The problem will only worsen. The higher the value of Bitcoin, the greater the incentive to mine, and new digital currencies will be developed with similar carbonized models. However, as the underlying technology can offer significant benefits, it is here to stay, so future models must be designed without reliance on energy consumption so disproportionate to their economic or social benefits.
One of the solutions that was presented in the above mentioned paper, was that government should be responsible for the creation of laws and policies that would stop the corporations from designing model of cryptocurrencies that exceed a particular level of carbon emission per giga hash. This entails that the carbon print be reduced to a minimum by restricting the amount of electricity they consume.
In addition, Truby also proposes that policies should be drawn in order to restrict the kind of devices that can be used for mining cryptocurrencies. This include taxes that have to be paid by the individuals who seek to mine cryptocurrencies. Truby further stated:
The goal of any intervention focused upon the machinery would be to indirectly impact upon the behavior of developers, motivating them to amend the model of existing and particularly future systems towards a less polluting and more sustainable transaction verification model.
He also went on to mention that due to these added implications, the blockchain designers will be forced to develop models that consume less energy.
“It could also motivate manufacturers of such devices to produce low energy versions”, said Truby.
Inflation of mining costs was also suggested as a solution. The pricey mining could ensure that less and less miners would be eager to collect coins.
It is feasible to shift demand of carbon-intensive machinery by focusing taxes on mining businesses at the point of acquisition or through usage charges. Manufacturers can also be targeted with similar taxes. None of these options are radical and all are within existing legal frameworks.
At this stage, the incorporation of renewable sources of energy is of utmost importance. Fortunately, a desirable source can be chosen from a wide selection. The renewables include solar energy, windmills, geothermal and tidal energies, and have extremely lesser ratio of carbon print production and higher efficiency rates as well. With the environment being impacted so heavily by the blockchain technology, the integration of said sources is a necessity. Truby also commented,
These measures will have an impact on demand-side low-carbon innovations of the machines being utilized and developed, as well as ultimately indirectly impacting upon the technology developer.
To conclude, all the above-mentioned initiatives could ensure that no advancements in technology are being made at the cost of the well being of our environment. The consumption of electricity has seen a massive surge and needs to be controlled. This requires that actions be taken all over the world to reduce the carbon print. This has to be a collective effort if any real progress is to be made in this regard.