The countries friendliest to crypto have decades to go before they meet the clean energy benchmarks required to power most of their regions and clean up their emissions — much less hold enough excess capacity to regularly mine Bitcoin.
Before China banned crypto mining last year, it provided the largest source of renewable energy for crypto operations. There are also crypto advocates who put forth dubious cases for digital currencies they claim are actually paving the path for clean power. One of their biggest tools at hand involves alternative mining programs. If they execute their high-knowledge duties sufficiently, they will gain tokens; if they go offline or validate bad transactions, they can lose their privileges and their coins.
These delegates are assigned block by block in the system; no one leader may hold the reins for too long. The primary benefit of proof of stake is the fact that not as many processing units are needed to run mining operations; Ethereum estimates this can slash energy requirements by up to 99 percent. The difference between proof of authority and proof of stake is that validators are preapproved to validate transactions based on their reputation in the market rather than by just their value holdings, and these validators are not allowed to verify consecutive blocks.
That sounds promising from the outside. Just last year, a proof of space currency named Chia gained popularity in China so quickly that it led to shortages of hard discs along the supply chain. Yet all this still lets ETH off the hook for its energy-intensive nature.
To be fair, many crypto evangelists make the accurate point that video gaming, streaming, and other data-heavy internet habits are also extremely energy-intensive; a report from the California Energy Commission found that video gaming within the state alone consumed about as much electricity as the entirety of Sri Lanka. Still, each of the aforementioned activities is a unique source of entertainment as well as of cultural and informational value.
Crypto, on the other hand, is a speculative asset that requires mass faith and collective buy-in over regulation and universally established commerce. The only newsroom focused on exploring solutions at the intersection of climate and justice.
Our in-depth approach to solutions-based journalism takes time and proactive planning, which is why Grist depends on reader support. Your gifts keep our unbiased, nonprofit news site free. All donations matched for a limited time. Join as a monthly donor, and your first-year total gets matched. Your support keeps our unbiased, nonprofit news free.
Michael M. Grist relies on the support of generous readers like you to keep our climate news free. Support solutions-based climate news The only newsroom focused on exploring solutions at the intersection of climate and justice. Shannon Osaka Economics. Read more about robots in Africa. Solar energy revolution — According to the International Energy Agency over million people in sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to electricity.
It already powers , households. Could this be a big step forward for the 1. Read more about this solar-powered energy revolution. Panic button app — Three developers from Kenya, Marvin Makau, Edwin Inganji and Kenneth Gachukia, have created a panic button app that sends a distress signal with the shake of a phone. The app, Usalama , works by connecting people with emergency service providers, and sends their exact location when they shake their phone three times.
It also alerts a next of kin and every other Usalama users within meters. They're looking to expand their technology beyond the continent and help make people safer. App lending eyes to the blind — BeSpecular , an app from South Africa, allows volunteers to remotely assist blind people. The app uses an algorithm to connect the right people, those similar in age and physical location.
Read more about this app. Mobile banking — Where the rest of the world has lagged behind, Africa has led the way with mobile payments. M-Pesa is the most popular service and has 30 million users in 10 countries. Since it was first introduced 10 years ago, M-Pesa has inspired a range of similar services around the world and has helped reduce barriers to finance. Read more about how Africa led the way with mobile payments. Flying car — It's been the dream of sci-fi enthusiasts and inventors for decades, but has this Nigerian man created a flying jet car that can dodge traffic?
Kehinde Durojaiye, or "Kenny Jet", is attempting to build an aero-amphibious jet car. He's driven it on sea and land. Now it's only the air that he has left to conquer. Find out more about the potential of this flying car. Essentially, a cryptocurrency is an encrypted digital coin. Transactions made with these digital coins are added to a growing database known as a blockchain -- and that's where the miners come in. How then does Mutai make money? Then for every transaction verification, you get something called a share, which is translated into the cryptocurrency that you're mining," Mutai tells CNN.
This West African lab built a 3D printer from e-waste. It can be a lucrative business. Cryptocurrencies have soared in the last year. Once the mining machine is up and running, aside from the regular power-cuts, he can kick back and let the computer do the work. However, the huge amounts of electricity needed to run the sort of powerful computers capable of mining can be a hindrance. Africa's cryptocurrency community.
Photos: The world's leading cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin — Bitcoin was released in and was the first decentralized digital currency. In the past year the price of Bitcoin has surged in price to astronomical heights with fears that the bubble could burst. Litecoin — A cryptocurrency based on similar technology to Bitcoin, Litecoin has also rapidly increased in value.
It was introduced in and has risen more this year in percentage increase than Bitcoin. Ethereum — A public, open-source cryptocurrency, ethereum was initially released in It is estimated to be the second largest cryptocurrency worldwide after Bitcoin. Ripple — Another rising star of the world of cryptocurrencies. It's price has reached record highs in recent weeks. Dash — A open-source currency that aspires to be user friendly. Again, the price has soared in recent weeks.
Nem — A cryptocurrency which, like the others, uses Blockchain technology. It was introduced in Monero — Released in , Monero is known for its use to purchase items on the "dark web. Life for Mutai hasn't always been plain sailing. When he was a teenager he lost both his twin brother and his grandmother around the same time.
His mother spiralled into depression and they moved km away from Nairobi. They were tumultuous times. Mutai borrowed his friend's Nokia Symbian S40 mobile phone and taught himself to code on it. Eventually, he moved back to the city to pursue technology further and in was named Kenya's top developer by Git Awards.
Mutai is part of a growing group of African developers and entrepreneurs engaged in cryptocurrency activities. BitHub , an incubation hub for internet-based currencies, is the center of Nairobi's cryptocurrency scene. Tech entrepreneur John Karanja founded BitHub in and runs workshops on blockchain technologies for young developers.
They also do training across five African countries. Digital coins are also attractive for those living in countries with dysfunctional currencies. In Zimbabwe the price of Bitcoin soared to become the most expensive exchange rate worldwide, on the Harare-based trading platform Golix. The skeptics. Cryptocurrencies are riding high, but there are doubters. Jamie Dimon, Chief executive officer of bank JP Morgan, says Bitcoin is a "fraud" and that "you can't have a business where people can invent a currency out of thin air.
There also concerns about the security of cryptocurrencies. There are no central banks or regulatory authorities that oversee cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin requires energy for hashing, or the PC processing power needed to build the blockchain. Simply put, the more hashing occurs, the more Bitcoin is being. You won't need a high-powered CPU, fancy motherboard, exotic DRAM, or even the Windows OS to bring it all together. In fact, other than a few. Mining Bitcoin is one of the most profitable businesses on the plant—but it also consumes too much energy for a growing list of nations.