Changing how Bitcoin mining works could drop its environmental impact by 99%

San Francisco, California - A high-rolling ad campaign is urging Bitcoin to help fight climate change by switching up how mining it works.

The absurd energy needs of bitcoin could drop 99% with one change.
The absurd energy needs of bitcoin could drop 99% with one change.  © IMAGO / YAY Images (Stock)

Per the Guardian, Chris Larsen, billionaire founder of the cryptocurrency Ripple, teamed up with Greenpeace and bankrolled a $5 million ad campaign demanding Bitcoin move away from its energy-intensive ways.

If Bitcoin ran on a greener system, it could drop the blockchain's energy needs by 99.9%, according to the Change the Code Not the Climate campaign.

Bitcoin is infamous for its excessive energy usage, largely relying on fossil fuels for mining farms and even resurrecting aging coal-fired and natural gas-fired power plants.

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The main reason for that huge power draw, which equals the energy usage for medium-sized countries like Sweden, is that mining Bitcoin uses a system called "proof of work" (POW).

Now, POW drains power by forcing special mining rigs built around high-end graphics cards to solve diabolically difficult encryption puzzles. Whichever device solves the puzzle is awarded with a bitcoin for its contribution in verifying transactions on the blockchain.

Proof of stake is the greener alternative, because it only allows a randomly selected group of individuals called validators to verify any one transaction. The "stake" part of the system is a fee paid by would-be validators to get a chance at "mining."

This prevents hordes of users all competing against each other in the POW system, which is where you get the energy savings.

Etherium, for example, still relies on proof of work to run its transactions, but plans to shift to proof of stake. When exactly is still unclear.

Larsen stated, "In this world, with all these smart people, there has got to be a better solution."

The Change the Code ads run in major media publications and social media platforms, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and on Facebook.

Cover photo: IMAGO / YAY Images (Stock)

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