News hardware After Ethereum, can Bitcoin also become greener?
While Ethereum, the second cryptocurrency in the ranking, has just successfully completed its energy transition, many believe that Bitcoin must in turn become more ecological. If on paper nothing prevents it, in practice, the process seems to be much more delicate than for Ethereum.
Ethereum is getting greener
Since last Thursday, the cryptocurrency sector has experienced a historic moment. Ethereum, the second cryptocurrency in terms of capitalization, now consumes 99% less energy.
All this was made possible by the will of the founder and the community of users around cryptocurrency. With “The Merge” update, the Ethereum network moved from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake – which resulted in put an end to ETH mining through graphics cards or ASICs. Thus, Bitcoin’s little sister consumes almost no electricity, drastically reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.
This initiative has been applauded by several environmental players who believe that the operation of Ethereum must become a kind of standard for other cryptocurrencies on the market. In this sense, questions are emerging, especially about the largest cryptocurrency in the ranking, namely: Bitcoin. Some legitimately wonder about Bitcoin’s ability to be able to make the same transition.
Bitcoin influenced by Ethereum
For some time, Bitcoin has faced many criticisms pointing to the energy-consuming and polluting aspect of its network. Indeed, the Bitcoin blockchain consumes an abundant amount of electricity through its proof-of-work validation system – harnessing the computing power of graphics cards. Although it uses more and more renewable energy, Bitcoin nevertheless raises concerns about its carbon footprint, due to the growing increase in its mining difficulty.
In a context of energy restrictions and the greening of several sectors, Bitcoin is the target of several institutions. For example, the White House recently published a report in which a group of experts examines the prohibition of Bitcoin mining in the United States.
Associations are also pushing Bitcoin to become greener. Such is the case with the Environmental Working Group (EWG), an environmental advocacy group that has partnered with Greenpeace to get Bitcoin to make a similar transition to Ethereum. To support this initiative, the association launched an advertising campaign with a budget of one million dollars.
The ‘Change the Code, Not the Climate’ campaign will now step up its efforts with $1 million in new online ads, and Greenpeace has launched a petition calling on Fidelity Investments to push bitcoin and follow Ethereum’s lead. by switching to a power-saving protocol that drastically reduces the contribution of cryptocurrency to the climate crisis. explains the EWG association on its website.
Although on paper nothing prevents Bitcoin from moving to proof-of-stake, in reality, the maneuver seems more difficult than for Ethereum.
Bitcoin proof-of-stake (PoS)
Bitcoin having no active founder, like Vitalik Buterin for Ethereum, it is not dependent on any single entity. In this logic, users place the code made by the creator Satoshi at the center of the Bitcoin system.
If a developer wants to make a change in the protocol, Bitcoin must obtain the consent of a majority of its users: the miners and the network nodes. For this reason, it is very difficult to achieve significant changes in Bitcoin. This argument speaks in favor of the current system, which Bitcoin maximalists deem to be highly secure.
In the event that Bitcoin would switch to proof-of-stake like Ethereum, a majority of investors and users may switch to something else since the system would be much more centralized – a paradox for the cryptocurrency which wishes be an alternative to the banking system and its influence.
For these various reasons, Bitcoin is unlikely to follow the same path as Ethereum. Increasing the use of renewable energy and less energy-intensive components seems like a more feasible option for the top-ranked cryptocurrency.
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is first and foremost a payments network allowing its users to exchange peer-to-peer currency. It is based on a digital currency called Bitcoin (BTC).
Thanks to blockchain* technology, Bitcoin offers the possibility of making decentralized payments, i.e. without third parties or trusted authorities. With this in mind, Bitcoin was initially created to be an alternative system to banks.
What is Blockchain?
The blockchain (literally chain of blocks) is in a way the digitization of trust. Concretely, his code allows web users to exchange peer-to-peer value with a decentralized validation system. All actions performed on a blockchain are anonymous but transparent.
The mathematician Jean-Paul Delahaye explains that we can visualize this large archive as “a very large notebook, which everyone can read freely and free of charge, on which everyone can write, but which is impossible to erase and indestructible”.
Who Runs Bitcoin?
If the name behind Bitcoin is known to everyone, Satoshi Nakamoto, no one really knows the identity of the creator. Either way, it doesn’t matter since Satoshi has little power over his code.
Indeed, Bitcoin is decentralized, so it does not depend on any entity. Its network does not belong to anyone since it is the consensus of its users that allows the change of its protocol. Developers can make changes only if miners and network nodes agree with the choice.
How does bitcoin work?
The Bitcoin network works thanks to its users. To carry out user transactions, Bitcoin has operated its blockchain. Concretely, each miner puts their machines (graphics card, ASICs) in competition to solve an equation in order to validate the veracity of the block. Thus, the Bitcoin network makes sure to issue secure transactions scrutinized by several binary intermediaries.
How to get Bitcoin?
Anyone using their hardware computing power (graphics card, ASICs) is paid in BTC according to their involvement in the network.
In addition to mining, Bitcoin can be obtained on cryptocurrency exchange platforms against fiat currency among others (euros, dollars, etc.).
Where to store bitcoin?
Like cash, Bitcoin can be stored on virtual wallets, generally called wallets. There are several types of wallet:
Hot wallets are Internet-connected private key storage solutions. In the form of software, these portfolios can be applications, extensions or even websites.
Cold wallets are a more secure alternative for cryptocurrencies. Indeed, the private keys of these wallets are not stored online, so it is much harder for a hacker to gain access to them. These wallets usually take on the appearance of a thumb drive or even paper.