Effect of Blockchain on Environment

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effect of blockchain on environment

The blockchain symbolizes a shift in power from the centers to the edges of the networks.    – William Mougayar

Blockchain is the most promising new technology for the upcoming world. 

Blockchain is a system of recording information in such a manner that makes hacking or unauthorized access arduous or impossible. It has a direct relation with the digital world and technology while talking about blockchains people start ventilating about finance, cryptocurrency, bitcoins, and more business applications like Databases, software, supply chain management, and indispensable applications i.e. internet things. The application that is rarely moot is the application of the environment. 

Now here the question arises is 

HOW BLOCKCHAINS ARE RELATED TO THE ENVIRONMENT? 

Despite all technological privileges blockchain technology also contributes to the environment by creating opportunities to enhance present production and utilization which can contribute to sustainable development. It also results in a proliferation of transparency. But in several ways, it leads to environmental degradation. 

There are some pros and cons of blockchains. 

 HOW BLOCKCHAINS POSITIVELY AFFECT THE ENVIRONMENT

Very few people are aware of the positive influence blockchains could have on the environment. It not only shrinks bureaucracy dominance, fraud, makes organizations more transparent but can also have a positive effect on the environment indirectly and also encourage individuals and organizations to espouse environmental practices. 

Nowadays people prefer more organic food but it is easy for companies to lie about the ingredients, chemicals, or the material used to prepare the product. Blockchains help consumers to get full information regarding the product, it not only enhances their knowledge and consciousness but also helps them to make more environmentally friendly choices and a more informed purchasing decision. Numerous apps are also designed to make this service accessible.

Many apps are programmed in such a manner that they make blockchain a source of incentives for the betterment of the environment. One of the most significant benefits of the blockchain as an incentive is that it can offer to recycle is data transparency. It emboldens involvement by giving a cryptographic token as a stimulus. It also helps a person to track a few pieces of information related to the scrap that is recycled. 

Conventional methods of energy distribution are centralized which erect inefficiencies, fraud, and corruption, and its consequences would be the unavailability of electricity for a long period.

Blockchain established a peer to peer relation based energy system which circulates energy over a wide range of distance and would also save energy, transmit from where it is produced to where it is needed. Most renewable power plant installations are expensive and often financed by the government and large enterprises but the innovation of blockchains-based peer-to-peer energy trading platforms made it possible for everyone to invest their money directly in solar and renewable power plant installations. Blockchains help to spread awareness among people regarding the uses of renewable resources which would also result in energy conservation.

As every coin has two sides, similarly blockchains have some positive and some negative effects on the environment. 

HOW BLOCKCHAIN NEGATIVELY AFFECT THE ENVIRONMENT

The most common implications of bitcoin’s technology related to the environment are related to its consumption of energy. Some blockchain solutions consume too much energy which leads to a negative impact on climate. Supercomputers are used for generating cryptocurrency which relies on a very energy-intensive production process termed mining. 99% of mining operations around the world run on supercomputers considered miner machines. 

This system is resource and energy-intensive relying on the state of the art cooling equipment technology and the energy required for this is huge it consumes 7 gigawatt-hours in a whole year which is almost equal to the 0.21% of global energy, it may sound like a portable bit with the same amount of energy we can supply electricity to the whole country the size of Switzerland, single full bitcoin transactions in which 1 bitcoin is generated consumes electricity equals to 18 US households consumption of one-day n this is too much.

If we keep moving at the same rate, the day is not so far when we push our earth beyond the 2° global warming and that is enormous. Once we reach 1.5° the impact is going to be irreversible and calamitous for the whole of mankind.  

The environmental impact comes from the carbon emissions associated with the energy used by mining computers. Bank of America (BAC) said in March that bitcoin carried “enormous environmental costs” and estimated that its carbon footprint was equivalent to the annual emissions of 1.8m cars which results in a huge amount of pollution.  A single bitcoin transaction has a carbon footprint of 359.04 kgCO2 – equivalent to the carbon footprint of 795,752 VISA transactions or 59,840 hours of watching YouTube.

The footprint of a single mined Bitcoin is estimated at 150 tonnes of carbon, which is around six times the pollution from the equivalent amount of mined gold, according to Digiconomist. All this data shows how harmful this blockchain technology is. The environment is a major concern and in the name of development and technology, we are exploiting it. It has a direct negative impact on the environment and slowly it is degrading nature. 

Essentially proof of stake is considered a better option as it provides excessive security, faster finality. It is less centralized,  utilizes cryptography, and consumes far less energy as compared to miners or supercomputers, the requirement of processing power is much lower. Some proof of state networks like Tezos, Polkadot, EOS, and Cardano, Ethereum The Bitcoin network can only conduct  5 transactions in a second, for an energy cost per transaction of 830kWh. Ethereum can conduct around 15 transactions per second, for an energy cost per transaction of 50kWh. Tezos can conduct about 52 transactions per second, for an energy cost per transaction of 30mWh. The difference between Bitcoin and Tezos here is a factor of 25 million, the difference between Ethereum and Tezos is a factor of 1.5 million which is huge. 

Conclusion:

Coronavirus comes like a lesson for us. For the sake of development, we are not allowed to destroy our environment. Development is necessary but it should be sustainable. Any progress or growth by harming the environment could not be considered as growth. , it will eventually cause more harm than good.

Like every technology blockchains also have both some positive and some negative effects. Recently due to Elon musk’s tweet bitcoins crashed and there seems to be a huge fall in cryptocurrencies. Even big businessmen are not accepting bitcoins and the technology of blockchains, there are some investors also who consider cryptocurrency as the best source. Conflict of thought is present everywhere

Some other alternatives can also be adopted it not just only contribute to the economical and technological development but also accord to the environmental development 

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