Over the past decade, cryptocurrencies have enabled several advantages that pose formidable challenges to the status-quo of fiat currencies. Yet, on the flip side, they also significantly threaten the environment, especially in the context of blockchain mining.
A majority of blockchain protocols, including Bitcoin, secure their ecosystems using the Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus mechanism. Under this process, a category of blockchain users—known as miners—burn massive computational power to solve cryptographic puzzles and verify transactions. Consequently, PoW is extremely resource-intensive and each device can have an environmental cost of nearly $1500 a year.
With more miners entering the industry, the idea of these super-computers competing to mine coins at the cost of the environment would be a scary one, if not for sustainable alternatives. In April 2020, the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index (CBECI) estimated that the total amount of energy consumed by the Bitcoin network, 7.46 GW, is equal to the energy consumed by 7 nuclear power plants.
Renewable sources of energy such as hydro-electricity, solar energy, and oil-power, as opposed to traditional sources, are much more energy-efficient, cheaper, and easily available. However, as much as these sources solve a part of the problem, not everyone has access to hydro-electricity or solar panels. To achieve energy efficiency, the technology itself has to be modified at the grassroots level.
As a faster, cheaper, and more secure alternative for PoW-based coins, the community has been striving to reduce its ecological footprint. Consequently, alternate consensus mechanisms such as Proof of Stake (PoS) and Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) have becoming increasingly popular for enabling environment-friendly, ‘green’ crypto coins.
So, what are these alternatives? Given below is a comprehensive list of the top 5 green coins (in no particular order) that are currently disrupting the crypto industry.
EOSIO is a public blockchain protocol that solves 2 major setbacks that are associated with mainstream platforms—transaction fees and scalability. It provides a platform to build industrial-scale DApps that are user and business-friendly, highly scalable (up to millions of transactions per second), and completely free of cost. Developers can follow a simple tutorial to set up EOS, and use either WebAssembly, Rust, C, or C++ to write applications.
The EOSIO blockchain implements a Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) consensus protocol, thus enhancing the energy efficiency of validating transactions in EOS—the platform’s native ERC-20 token. Briefly put, the platform’s governance involves 21 block producers who are elected by EOS token holders. As such, EOS tokens are pre-mined and can be traded on exchanges like Coinbase, Binance, Kraken, and so on.
Further, EOS can be exchanged with virtually any cryptocurrency provided they’re converted to ETH or BTC first. At the time of writing, EOS is priced at $2.68 per coin.
Social media and digital content sharing is transforming in the era of blockchain technology. Singapore-based non-profit organization TRON is leading the competition with a peer-to-peer platform on which creators can share their applications directly on the blockchain, without the need for an intermediary.
TRON is a public blockchain that supports virtually every modern programming language and has a TPS of over 2000. TRON is governed by a 2-tier body of Super Representatives (SRs) and Super Representative Partners (SRPs). Every account can become an SR and every account can vote for SRs. In this way, TRON’s governance is completely decentralized.
The platform’s cryptocurrency, Tronix (TRX), can be used by consumers to pay digital creators directly for the content hosted on the blockchain. Built on a DPoS consensus protocol, TRX is pre-mined and can be traded on exchanges like Binance and Liquid. TRX’s current value stands at $0.026959 but the makers of TRON have outlined an ambitious blueprint for TRON’s future. It started in 2019 with ‘Exodus’, a distributed storage technology, and aims to develop ‘Eternity’ by 2025 where developers can create decentralized gaming platforms and predictive markets.
Ripple made waves in the industry when it was launched in 2012 as a private platform that allows users to transfer money in different currencies without having to jump through hoops. The Ripple Protocol Consensus Algorithm (RPCA) works differently from others: it is essentially a voting system made up of validators around the world. When a transaction is initiated, it must be validated by at least 80% of the validators before it is added to the XRP Ledger. Each validator can depend on a list of trusted validators collectively called a Unique Node List. Every UNL is unique to each validator.
Ripple’s native cryptocurrency, XRP, does not function as a currency itself. Instead, XRP is used as a token to bridge digital transfers of assets across physical borders. As XRP works on a DPoS protocol, it is pre-mined. 100 billion XRP tokens were created by Ripple at the time of launch, and an XRP token represents the value of a transfer. Therefore, by converting the value of a transfer into XRP, exchange fees are made negligible, along with a transaction period of merely 3-5 seconds. Ripple is written with C++ and is supported by Windows, Linux (Ubuntu, RHEL, CentOS), and macOS. XRP is currently valued at $0.258432 and can simultaneously handle more than 1500 transactions per second.
Cardano, developed by Ethereum’s co-founder Charles Hoskinson is the world’s first peer-reviewed blockchain—tested and reviewed by scientists and academics around the world. Developers can run smart contracts and DApps on Cardano using its native cryptocurrency ADA. With a value of $0.110247, ADA mainly functions as a digital currency, to be used by consumers to facilitate cross-border transactions quickly (1000-per-second) and securely (PoS-based consensus protocol). Moreover, every ADA holder can also claim a stake in Cardano’s private network.
What sets this blockchain apart from the rest is Ouraboros—a variation of PoS-based protocol that combines technology and mathematics with behavioural psychology and economic philosophy.
Users can use Haskell and Plutus to write and launch Smart Contracts and DApps on Cardano, while also running sidechains and multi-party computations on Windows, Linux (Ubuntu, Mint), and macOS. Installing a Cardano node depends on 3 factors—OS, level of technical expertise, and personal preferences. Consequently, there are 4 different ways to do it that can be found on the website. Currently, ADA is valued at $0.110247.
XinFin Network (XDC)
Developed by eXchange inFinite or XinFin Organisation, the XinFin Digital Contract (XDC) token is built on a unique, hybrid blockchain framework. Leveraging a XinFin Delegated Proof of Stake (XDPoS) consensus, XDC is written in Golang and currently valued at $0.005337.
Given the public-private hybrid XinFin blockchain, XDC is a super-secure, completely-decentralized, and hyper-fast cryptocurrency with more than 2000 transactions-per-second and a one-click installer. The XDPoS consensus ensures that while the minting of XDC coins and stable decentralized network consumes as much energy as a word-processor, it can also be completed within seconds, making it a highly energy-efficient process. Read more at: The Environmental Impact: Cryptocurrency Mining vs. XDPoS Consensus
XinFin can also be used as a network to source crowdfunding for global eco-friendly projects. XinFin can be hosted on 3 major operating systems: Windows, Ubuntu, macOS, with its community governance distributed equally in the network.
A Final Word
The future of cryptocurrency as a sustainable alternative for paper currency is bright, especially as more and more ‘green’ coins enter the crypto space. Although it will be a while before the consumer-base completely moves on from PoW-based coins, the presence of eco-friendly cryptocurrencies like XDC, ADA and EOS is a symbol of positive change. Moreover, Ethereum 2.0 is also on track to replace the resource-intensive Proof-of-Work consensus with Proof of Stake. Thus, by reducing the energy consumption, ETH2 will also become a Green Coin in the near future.
Lastly, of all the ‘green’ coins in the market, however, XinFin’s XDC tokens are arguably the most sustainable option for consumers who take their eco-responsibilities seriously since 2018 [Read More — XDC: The ideal coin for Green Energy and the Renewables Sector]. So far, it’s the only cryptocurrency network that has designed an energy-efficient, eco-friendly consensus protocol to protect the environment, but takes action to replenish the damage already done.
About the Author: I love and stand by crypto that preserves nature and the environment. Please comment below to give your valued suggestions and feedback on your favourite Green Crypto.
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