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Top 9 Eco-Friendly Cryptocurrencies To Invest In

8 mins
Updated by May Woods
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Using eco-friendly cryptocurrencies may soon become the main priority for individuals and companies in an effort to contain climate change. Crypto traditionally has a bad reputation in this space, but many networks and projects have been working hard to remedy this. Here are the top nine eco-friendly cryptos to invest in.

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How sustainable is crypto?

How sustainable is digital currency? The short answer is: it depends. When it comes to analyzing the most energy-efficient cryptocurrency, we have to inspect the process of creating and sustaining each blockchain.

Many of these cryptocurrencies are produced through mining. The Bitcoin network, for instance, uses the proof-of-work consensus.

Proof-of-work consensus

PoW helps verify that a blockchain (or digital ledger of transactions) has been assembled correctly. 

A network of computers solves a complicated mathematical problem based on a cryptographic hash algorithm in a finite amount of time. If a solution is found, which is called proof-of-work, then the verified transaction is added to the blockchain. Miners receive rewards when they help generate these solutions. 

The issue with the proof-of-work consensus is the power consumption. As the new blocks include new and more complicated mathematical problems, the miners require more computational power, hence more electricity, to be able to solve them and claim the reward in the given cryptocurrency. 

If the price of the cryptocurrency sinks too much, it may not be feasible for miners to work on that network since the electricity bill is more than the value of the crypto received. 

Power consumption by PoW cryptocurrencies
PoW power consumption: The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, an interdisciplinary research institute based at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School, found that the Bitcoin network uses around 82 terawatts-hour per year. That is more than Belgium or Chile use (entire nations!)

Proof-of-stake consensus

PoS is a consensus mechanism that randomly assigns the node that will mine or validate block transactions according to how many coins that node holds. While there are numerous flaws associated with PoS, the fact that it is less resource-intensive and doesn’t require mining makes it a more environmentally friendly option.

PoS alone generates the most eco-friendly cryptocurrencies. Here’s a comparison between the energy consumption of some of the most sustainable cryptocurrencies and bitcoin for one transaction.

CryptocurrencyTransaction cost in Kilowatt hour (KWh)
IOTA 2.01.88333333e-9

But some cryptocurrencies are more energy-efficient than bitcoin. In no particular order, here are the top 9 most eco-friendly cryptocurrencies we could find. 

1. Nano (NANO)


Nano is a sustainable cryptocurrency that is free to use because it doesn’t rely on mining. This scalable and low-latency crypto relies on a voting system to achieve consensus. It is an energy-efficient cryptocurrency with one of the lowest carbon footprints. 

Why is nano a green cryptocurrency?

Nano runs the Open Representative Voting (ORV) consensus mechanism. In this system, the users vote on each transaction. 

The Nano network relies on a block-lattice ledger design, which processes asynchronous transactions. Each node independently secures each irreversible transaction, which is achieved in less than one second. 

This system allows only account owners to sign blocks on their account chains. This also protects the whole ecosystem from malicious actors. 

2. Cardano (ADA)


Cardano (ADA) was the first peer-reviewed blockchain. It functions both as a currency and as a digital contract and DApps medium. 


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The Cardano network can process 1000 transactions per second, compared to seven transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain. Ethereum’s co-founder, Charles Hoskinson, created the Cardano network. Many believe it has the potential to compete with Ethereum.

Why is ADA a green cryptocurrency?

Cardano uses a proof-of-stake consensus called Ouroboros. This was the first peer-review protocol for blockchain, making ADA a sustainable cryptocurrency and one of the most popular ones. The foundation for the Cardano network is setting it to scale at global requirements without sacrificing security, offering a transparent payment system in an energy-efficient manner. 

3. Stellar (XLM)


Stellar is a network established in 2014 as a fork from the Ripple network, and it operates as an energy-efficient cryptocurrency. Only a selected number of distributed nodes are required to confirm each transaction. 

Moreover, its goal is to seamlessly create a bridge between the traditional banking system and digital currencies. The technology is already in use by world-famous companies (IBM, Deloitte) and even governments (Nigeria, France, The Philippines, India, and Ukraine). 

Why is XLM a green cryptocurrency?

XLM is a cost-efficient cryptocurrency as it can facilitate financial trades efficiently. It has a lower carbon footprint because it does not rely on mining. Users of the network can create tokens of their own for sustainable initiatives. 

The consensus protocol operating on the Stellar network, the SCP, uses a set of trustworthy nodes to validate network transactions. This makes the process much shorter and more efficient than the proof-of-work and proof-of-stake consensus mechanism. And this keeps energy consumption at a minimum level. 



IOTA is a relatively stable cryptocurrency. The network uses a system that conveys an overall low level of energy consumption, thus making IOTA an eco-friendly cryptocurrency. 

Why is IOTA a green cryptocurrency?

IOTA (MIOTA) does rely on the proof-of-work mechanism to achieve consensus, but it uses Fast Probabilistic Consensus, which has minimal energy consumption. In fact, the energy consumption per transaction for Iota was calculated by a PhD student to be just 0.11 watt-hours

That energy consumption is much lower than what giant financial networks use today, and it is estimated it could be reduced. IOTA’s network energy consumption can function on a reduced energy requirement of up to 95% of its current use. But future updates are still in development. 

5. EOS (EOS)

EOS, one of the most eco-friendly cryptocurrencies

EOS is more than a cryptocurrency. It is a decentralized blockchain-based operating system. Developers can use it to create safe, transparent, and compliant dApps and smart contracts. All nodes on the EOS network must obey the regulations set by the community. Daniel Larimer, the founder of Bitshares and Steem, launched the platform. 

Why is EOS a green cryptocurrency?

EOS is one of the main competitors for Ethereum. It aims to handle a million transactions per second. The network uses the Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) consensus mechanism. This allows it to create a new block every 0.5 seconds. The technology-based democracy uses systems such as voting and elections to keep the blockchain secure and validate the next block.

This alternative to the classic PoS is, by design, eco-friendly and energy-efficient. It is a popular choice for many projects, including Tezos.

6. Ripple (XRP)

XRP, one of the most eco-friendly cryptocurrencies

Ripple is a peer-to-peer decentralized network that allows the transfer of money and facilitates seamless conversions between different currencies around the world. XRP is the native currency of the network, and it serves as an intermediate medium of exchange. Financial institutions are currently using the Ripple network for fast money transfers. 

Why is ripple a green cryptocurrency?

XRP is pre-mined, and it uses the Ripple Protocol Consensus Algorithm (RPCA). Simply put, 80% of the network’s validators must approve a transaction before the validators add them to the blockchain. This makes XRP an eco-friendly cryptocurrency. It functions on an efficient and secure network that allows low-fee transactions to occur at great speed. 

7. Algorand (ALGO)

ALGO, one of the most eco-friendly cryptocurrencies

Algorand is a blockchain platform that uses proof-of-stake, which makes it scalable and secure. The network also supports smart contracts. The pure permissionless PoS is accessible and uses far less energy than many other cryptocurrencies. 

Why is algorand a green cryptocurrency?

Algorand uses the proof-of-stake algorithm to validate blocks and does not involve mining, as it tries to lead the way to a sustainable blockchain network system. The project pledged to become the first carbon-neutral blockchain when it signed a partnership with ClimateTrade.

8. SolarCoin (SLR)

SolarCoin, one of the most eco-friendly cryptocurrencies

SolarCoin is a decentralized cryptocurrency that aims to mobilize real-world environmental activities. One token is generated for every megawatt-hour generated using solar technology.  

Why is solarcoin a green cryptocurrency?

SolarCoin uses the proof-of-stake consensus algorithm. As the network of users grows, it is intended to become increasingly efficient. 

Users receive one SolarCoin for each Megawatt hour generated by their solar technology. At the moment, the system relies on users uploading the documentation, but IoT will soon be used to make automatic updates from the solar system. 

By incentivizing the population to use and produce solar energy, the entire planet benefits. The SolarCoin system is not only energy-efficient but is becoming closer to zero carbon footprint. The solar energy generated by those supporting the project is more than what the network needs. 

9. Ethereum 2.0 (ETH)

ETH, one of the most eco-friendly cryptocurrencies

Ethereum is the second most popular blockchain platform after Bitcoin. Users can use the public ledger to create and use applications and use ETH as a means of payment.  The pre-merge Ethereum used the proof-of-work consensus mechanism, which bloated the network, creating prohibiting network fees for ETH transactions. 

Because the network expanded so much in the last years, its founder, Vitalik Buterin, decided to replace the proof-of-work with a proof-of-stake mechanism. 

Ethereum 2.0 aims to be a more scalable, secure, and sustainable blockchain. The upgrade took place in 2022, and the network has since reduced its energy consumption by 99.9%.

How to find eco-friendly cryptocurrencies?

Most cryptocurrencies we use today still rely on the original model set by the original crypto network, Bitcoin. That is the model in which new tokens are created through mining. This is most known as the proof-of-work consensus mechanism, and it’s a very energy-intensive algorithm. 

Are cryptocurrencies eco-friendly? It depends. They could be, but you need to pay a closer look at how their blockchain is built.

An eco-friendly cryptocurrency should use alternative consensus mechanisms, such as the proof-of-stake algorithm, to maintain the integrity of the blockchain while being energy efficient and reducing the carbon footprint to a minimum. 

Top Tip

The energy requirements of a cryptocurrency come down to the algorithm used by the blockchain network it is hosted.

Another component of a sustainable cryptocurrency is the market dynamic. Even in the case of BTC, the crypto with the largest carbon footprint, when the price crashes, so does the energy consumption. Miners are no longer incentivized, and some will even turn off their computers and stop mining when the process is no longer profitable for them. 

Blockchain tech is moving towards eco-friendly solutions

The good news is that the blockchain industry is becoming ever more interested in creating eco-friendly cryptocurrencies and solutions. Sustainability and scalability features are becoming core criteria for existing and new crypto. We will surely see more eco-friendly cryptocurrencies in the future as the entire planet moves further toward climate-friendly practices.

Frequently asked questions

What is ESG?

Is crypto eco-friendly?

Is crypto ESG friendly?

Is proof-of-work more eco-friendly than proof-of-stake?

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Iulia Vasile
Iulia Vasile is a seasoned professional in the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry, working full-time in the field since 2017. With a background in computer engineering, she has the unique ability to write about complicated topics, including DeFi, NFTs, trading, and AI, in a way that is easy to understand. Iulia learned multiple programming languages while completing her Software Engineering degree in Bucharest at Politehnica University. Iulia brings her expertise and personal...