Ripple’s XRP is not only useful. It’s also green and efficient!
Most people don’t stop to think how green cryptocurrencies are. It’s more or less natural because coins that exist only as bits on the internet do not suggest any kind of obvious ecological impact in the real world. Before we talk about Ripple’s XRP, let’s take Bitcoin, mother of all coins, as an example. Is it green?
It uses more than $300,000 USD of electricity daily. According to some estimations, Bitcoin is burning as much energy as Ireland every year, and that’s just one-third of the whole cryptosphere. How does that happen?
Creating blocks for Bitcoin’s blockchain needs solving a complex mathematical problem called SHA-256 collision. This problem is so complex that normal personal computers can’t manage it fast enough to support the network. That’s why most serious miners use custom hardware to do this calculation. The computation is very processor-intensive, and that takes energy. A lot of energy. Every mining machine is at 100% every day, of every week, of every month.
That’s not everything. As time goes by, Bitcoin’s protocol is designed to do two things: to increase the SHA-256 calculation level of difficulty and to produce half as many coins per block. In the beginning, every new block produced 50 new bitcoins.
After two halvings in 9 years, blocks produce 12.5 coins right now and by May 2020, the number will go down to 6.25. If you put both things together, it means that as Bitcoin gets older, it takes a lot more energy to produce fewer and fewer blocks and coins. And the network is already sucking a huge amount of energy.
The idea behind the protocol is to ensure that bitcoins are not only limited but also scarce so that there is no inflationary pressure on the token.
Is it worth it, though? Well, it depends. From the point of view of keeping the Bitcoin network going, it’s 100% worth it. But if you’re a miner you need to profit from your activity and that depends greatly on the token’s price. According to some estimations, it takes $7,000.00 worth of electricity to produce a single Bitcoin, but that fluctuates widely depending on the country you live in because the cost of power is very different everywhere. But at Bitcoin’s current price (just above $4k), many miners around the world are taking losses. At least until the price goes over $7,000 again.
All this begs a question, can Bitcoin really become the future’s currency if it’s not green? And, if not, what other options do we have?
There’s good news in this regard. We have the blockchain 3.0. In many of these projects all tokens were pre-mined before they entered the market so the energy expenditure is not as high because it used just to keep the network’s nodes online; also because block production in these new blockchains is nowhere near as complex as it is in Bitcoin.
The poster boy currency when it comes to being green is probably Ripplebecause its consensus mechanism is relatively light and all the XRP tokens are in existence already. And this is not an “exotic” currency. Currently, it’s the world’s second coin by market capitalization and some bold observers believe that it’s the only coin that really has a chance to give Bitcoin a run for its money sometime in the future.
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