Ripple co-creator Chris Larsen believes that unless bitcoin changes itself to be more environmentally friendly, all hope for the world’s largest and most popular digital currency is lost.
Chris Larsen: BTC Needs to Change Modules
Bitcoin has been taking a lot of guff in recent weeks given that its constant price increases have led to boosts in energy usage for crypto miners. The higher the price of bitcoin goes, the more expensive it becomes to mine and extract. Right now, only 18.6 million BTC units have been placed in circulation, which means there are still about 2.4 million more units to go (there are roughly 21 million BTC units in existence). Thus, there is still much more energy usage on the way if we are to see all these assets being traded and sold.
Bitcoin mining has been the object of criticism amongst environmentalists, who say that the energy usage has gotten out of control. Right now, it is being said that bitcoin mining requires more electricity that what is needed to power countries such as Iceland and Argentina. It is also argued that the carbon footprint left behind by bitcoin mining is equivalent to the one from Sin City, aka Las Vegas, Nevada.
This will not do, according to many analysts, and Chris Larsen appears to be right up there with them. He states in a recent interview that Ethereum has recently switched over to a more ecologically friendly module, and that bitcoin would be smart to do the same. He explained:
I would argue that such a change is critically important for bitcoin to remain the world’s dominant cryptocurrency.
The module that Larsen is referring to when it comes to ETH is Ethereum 2.0, which was introduced late last year. The module replaces miners with validators, while users that send fees directly to the network are inherently removed from all future equations. Larsen states:
I know this is a bold proposal, but it is worth a serious discussion given what the world looks like today (in comparison to when bitcoin was launched in 2009). Many of bitcoin’s most prominent advocates turn a blind eye or even ‘greenwash’ the problem with questionable claims.
In other words, the energy use of 12 years ago did not even come close to what it is today for bitcoin miners, and thus they need to begin taking the threat seriously to avoid any further (and potentially irreversible) damage to the planet.
Maybe This Isn’t a Huge Problem…
Some are arguing that the threat bitcoin mining presents is not that large and is being blown out of proportion. One of these individuals, Nic Carter, explained in a Medium post not too long ago:
I believe bitcoin will be mined almost exclusively with nonrival energy. Suffice to say, there is enough nonrival energy out there to run bitcoin many times over.