Taming the Power-Hungry Blockchain Beast with Decentralized,
Throughout history, every great breakthrough often came with negative consequences
and side effects. Think about Marie Curie. Her research on radioactivity is what makes X-rays possible today. Unfortunately, her discoveries and remarkable research are also what killed her. What about the Internet? It’s the most revolutionary invention for generations and holds countless opportunities that benefit billions of people around the world. However, cybercrime has never been higher and expected to reach $2 tln by 2019. It’s the same story with Blockchain. The technology has the potential to revolutionize every industry it comes into contact with. However, its biggest application remains in the cryptocurrency industry. And with the current excitement surrounding this industry, it’s easy to overlook the side effects that come with such a disruptive breakthrough.
Energy-craving Blockchain can have devastating consequences for the environment
Mining popular cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, requires extremely powerful computer hardware that can solve complex mathematical equations. To run these computers burns up a lot of energy, mostly from non-renewable fossil fuels. And as the price of the digital coin sores so too does the number of people looking to get in on the action. Each and every Bitcoin transaction requires around 215 KWh (kilowatt-hours) to process. In comparison, the average American household uses 900 KWh every month. So around 30 KWh per day.
That means a single Bitcoin transaction uses the same amount of power as seven homes do in an entire day. What’s even more shocking is that a single Bitcoin mine relies on fossil fuels, like coal, can produce as much as 13,000 kg of CO2 emissions per Bitcoin mined. With 300,000 transactions per day, it’s easy to see what a significant impact the process has on the environment. And this is just from one cryptocurrency. Although Ethereum is less energy reliant, a single transaction on this network still requires the same amount of power as nearly two homes. In total, the network is equivalent in power consumption as the whole of Cyprus.
Centralized mining on a decentralized network
On a platform that is inherently decentralized, centralized mining operations seem counterintuitive. However, mining operations gravitate towards countries with cheap electricity. For example, China does over 80 percent of Bitcoin mining due to the country’s cheap supply of electricity. Unfortunately, the power supply comes mostly from dirty, non-renewable sources like coal. The country gets more than 70 percent of their electricity from coal. In fact, a few years ago, it was reported that China burns as much coal as the rest of the world combined.
Burning coal releases large amounts of CO2 which is one of the biggest causes of the greenhouse effect and global warming. Apart from having a detrimental impact on the environment, large pools of concentrated mining pools spurred on by cheap electricity, have too much influence over the network. Look what happened to the price of Bitcoin when China announced their ban on ICO’s? The price becomes too reliant on single entities. This in stark contrast to the underlying concept of cryptocurrencies and Blockchain as a whole, which adds value exactly because of its dependency on a majority consensus to verify and approve transactions.
However, people and big corporations are becoming more aware of their social responsibilities and the size of the footprint that they leave on this earth. Development and adoption of renewable energy sources have seen a dramatic increase in the last few years, including solar, wind and hydropower. So much so that in many locations, there is an excess supply of electricity from renewable sources, that simply goes to waste. This is in great part due to the fact that the cost of building large-scale solar farms has dropped by as much as 50 percent in five years.
A three-fold solution
Envion is hoping to make cryptocurrency mining cheaper, cleaner and decentralized with their mobile data-centers. They’ve developed automatized mining units which are installed inside shipping containers. These containers can be relocated around the world with relative ease, reducing the dependency on single governments, economies or infrastructures.
The mining units, which exclusively consume power from reusable, green sources, are placed near energy supply points, such as solar plants and wind farms, reducing the cost of “transporting” electricity and enabling them to easily tap into excess energy production. In addition, the company developed a new, self-regulating cooling system, specifically for Blockchain mining, which is up to forty-times more energy-efficient and cost-effective than conventional, AC cooling units.
Envion further promotes environmental friendliness by recycling the energy produced from mining with the strategic placement of the mining units, close to objects and buildings that need heating, including warehouses and greenhouses. This enables them to reduce their energy costs even further. The end result is a mining solution that is more profitable due to lower energy costs, more secure due to mobile mining that puts less reliance on single entities, and more eco-friendly due to the usage of renewable, green power.
An ICO for the environment
Many of the ICO’s we see these days are largely based on Speculation. The EVN token is however fully backed by the hardware that it represents which is already operating successfully. The EVN token will be on sale for 31 days from Dec. 1, 2017, with a max cap of 150 mln. Once invested, token holders will have the right to dividends from the mining operations including 100 percent from proprietary mining operations (75 percent immediately and 25 percent reinvested to boost future payouts) and 35 percent from non-proprietary operations. Finally, token holders will also get a say in company strategy by voting on decisions.