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On-Chain Sustainability – Leading the Way to a Greener Future

4 mins
Updated by Fernando Fierro
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In Brief

  • The potential of technology to reduce energy consumption is yet to be explored through mass adoption.
  • Blockchain-based payment platforms offer rapid international payments, reducing the need for the physical transportation of money and paper-based documentation
  • The crypto industry is disrupting traditional financial institutions by revolutionizing how we exchange value.
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Blockchain technology has emerged as a disruptive force capable of tackling the world’s most pressing environmental challenges head-on, providing a glimmer of hope for a sustainable future.

As the world’s attention turns towards combating climate change and promoting sustainability, blockchain and cryptocurrency emerge as key players in driving this transformation. The potential of technology to reduce energy consumption, lower carbon emissions, and enable more efficient financial transactions is yet to be explored through mass adoption.

While some cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, are still grappling with carbon-intensive legacy issues, the blockchain and crypto industry is challenging the status quo by promoting a remote-first culture, proof-of-stake consensus, and less carbon-intensive operations.

BE[IN]CRYPTO Global Crypto and Web3 Sustainability Report

Sustainable Growth & Reducing Climate Impact

<Download full report>

“Blockchain Innovation Promises to Revolutionize Energy Consumption and Reduce Carbon Footprint”

As climate change remains one of the most significant challenges we face today, the blockchain industry has taken bold steps to address energy consumption and minimize its carbon footprint.

The Eco-Friendly Future of Cross-Border Payments

The financial landscape is transforming significantly as blockchain technology disrupts traditional finance on various fronts, including sustainability. Blockchain technology and digital currencies are going mainstream, with increasing transactions occurring on the chain and central banks hastening to issue their digital currencies.

Ripple and SBI Remit have collaborated with a system that helps around 50,000 Thai nationals in Japan send money home. By leveraging blockchain technology, Ripple and SBI Remit have created a more efficient and eco-friendly solution for cross-border payments.

Blockchain-based payment platforms offer rapid and cost-effective international payments. And this reduces the need for the physical transportation of money and paper-based documentation. By streamlining these processes, blockchain technology contributes to a more sustainable financial system by helping to reduce energy emissions.

In 2022, USDT handled approximately $18.2 trillion of transactions. Yet Mastercard processed fewer transactions valued at $14.1 trillion over the previous year. Meanwhile, VISA reported a transaction amount of $7.7 trillion, placing it in a distant third place.

Blockchain technology also has a lower gross carbon footprint than paper transactions. Legacy systems that employ thousands of people, large offices, and tons of paper have a much higher carbon footprint.

Addressing Crypto’s Energy Consumption Problem With Proof-of-Stake

Cryptocurrency’s proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism is a promising solution to address the excessive energy consumption issue in the industry. Now the industry is becoming more conscious of its environmental impact. As Bitcoin’s energy usage grows, Ethereum is transitioning to a more environmentally sustainable approach.

Ethereum has successfully implemented the PoS consensus mechanism with its Ethereum 2.0 upgrade in 2022, known as “the Merge.” This move is expected to reduce Ethereum’s carbon emissions by a staggering 99.95% and make the blockchain more secure while having a smaller carbon footprint.

Compared to the traditional proof-of-work (PoW) mechanism, PoS consumes significantly less energy, making Ethereum a more environmentally friendly option. Ethereum is not the only innovator in the sphere, as almost all prominent players are racing for more sustainable transactions with the minimal energy consumption needed.

Blockchain Industry Embraces Renewable Energy

The blockchain industry is actively exploring using renewable energy sources to support the energy-intensive process of cryptocurrency mining.

Soluna, a leading blockchain firm, is currently constructing a wind-powered cryptocurrency mining farm with a capacity of 900 megawatts in Morocco, showcasing the potential of renewable energy to revolutionize the way cryptocurrencies are mined.

After becoming the first country to recognize Bitcoin as a legal tender, El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele directed a state-owned geothermal electric company to investigate the use of geothermal energy from the country’s volcanoes for cryptocurrency mining.

Also innovative approaches, such as using excess energy from industrial processes for mining, are also gaining popularity. This method helps reduce waste and mitigates the environmental impact of mining, known for its high energy consumption.

Companies like Northern Bitcoin are finding cleaner and more cost-effective ways to mine cryptocurrency. For instance, Northern Bitcoin has set up a data center in a former Norwegian metal mine. It uses hydroelectric and wind power to run its computers and cold water from a nearby fjord to cool the machines.

As energy storage has always been a challenge for nations seeking to balance production and consumption, diverting excess energy towards mining can be a potential solution to increase adoption and store value.

Revolutionizing Supply Chain Management for Sustainable Development

The crypto industry is disrupting traditional financial institutions by revolutionizing how we exchange value. And blockchain technology is being embraced by traditional businesses to reinvent their approach.

In the food industry, IBM and Walmart have collaborated on developing the IBM Food Trust. This blockchain-based system enables users to trace food products from farm to store. This way transparency and accountability in the supply chain is ensured.

Similarly, blockchain technology is being utilized in the diamond industry by companies like De Beers and Alrosa. They have developed blockchain-based systems to track the journey of diamonds, ensuring ethical and conflict-free sourcing.

Even the Fashion Industry is Exploring Blockchain

Meanwhile, in the fashion industry, companies such as H&M and Levi Strauss & Co. are also exploring blockchain technology to promote sustainability. They are using blockchain-based systems to track the origin of raw materials and ensure ethical sourcing and production.

Without question, blockchain technology can drive humanity’s sustainability journey in various ways. These include sharing resources, exchanging value, and organizing carbon trade.

BE[IN]CRYPTO Global Crypto and Web3 Sustainability Report

Sustainable Growth & Reducing Climate Impact

<Download full report>

The potential of web3 tools and blockchain technologies extends well beyond the realm of cryptocurrency’s volatile and often speculative market. To successfully navigate this shifting tide, it is essential to develop a comprehensive understanding of the transformative potential of the technology and its implications for the wider business landscape.

In pursuing a greener future, companies, businesses, and nations alike must develop solutions that align with a common goal. Blockchain technology and cryptocurrency have emerged as indispensable allies in this quest. They can foster collaboration between businesses, governments, and individuals to effect lasting, positive change in the world.

Through addressing energy consumption concerns, facilitating renewable energy adoption, revolutionizing carbon-offsetting markets, and driving change in the financial industry, these digital innovations are making a significant contribution to the global effort to mitigate climate change and safeguard our environment.

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Alena Afanaseva
Alena Afanaseva, CEO and founder of Beincrypto.com, brings over a decade of traditional finance experience to the decentralized economy. Since 2018, she’s grown the platform into a global crypto news hub with 8M monthly visitors and a 200-member team from 60+ countries. Beincrypto.com covers news in 20 languages, ensuring a broad reach. Alena’s expertise spans macroeconomics, monetary policy, and financial asset analysis. She’s also a passionate advocate for women’s empowerment in web3....
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