According to a study conducted by the University Of Cambridge, BTC consumes around 121.36 terawatt-hours (TWh) per year. In contrast, Argentina, with its population of around 45 million, consumes only 121 TWh. The story of the environmental disaster that is Bitcoin is well known, yet the topic has never been discussed as intensively as it has been these days due to Elon Musk’s public opinion change. This also puts green altcoins in the spotlight.
Experts agree: Bitcoin is still the king among cryptocurrencies — and will probably remain so for the time being. However, the fact that other currencies are catching up cannot be ignored. Bitcoin’s market share slipped below the 50 percent mark in April. Ether, in particular, has made up considerable ground. The reason for the popularity of Ether is primarily the benefit of the Ethereum network, i.e. the blockchain behind the Ether currency.
But Ether also benefits from another development: The Ethereum network is to switch from the energy-consuming proof-of-work approach, in which every transaction must be validated by so-called miners, to the proof-of-stake approach as part of the “Ethereum 2.0” project. This procedure will make transactions on the blockchain more efficient and, above all, less energy-intensive.
In a few words:
Proof Of Work: expensive computer calculation. All nodes are performing it, the “fastest” one wins and receives coins. HUGE energetic impact.
Proof Of Stake: creator of a new block is chosen in a deterministic way, depending on its wealth (=stake). Transaction fees as a reward
— Proof Of Stake, Maximilian Perkmann
Ether is on its way to outperform Bitcoin, which has recently come under criticism as an “environmental disaster”, at least in terms of its carbon footprint. But if you want to invest in less energy-hungry cryptocurrencies, Ether is not the only choice. The market offers many cryptocurrencies that are convincing in terms of (energy) efficiency and innovation.
Cardano: The Ethereum Competitor
Currently, as the fifth-largest cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalization, Cardano is one of the rising stars on the market. Ethereum co-founder Charles Hoskinson had one goal with the new platform: before the network was launched, all known current difficulties of previous blockchain currencies were to be scientifically investigated and solved. By doing so, Hoskinson wanted to solve all technical challenges to create a decentralized, fast, but also secure network.
The energy-friendly proof-of-stake approach is also expected to be responsible for the coin’s recent steep price rise. As recently as the beginning of the year, a coin was available for $0.2; today, the price has skyrocketed above $2. Supporters of Cardano see the platform as a better, more efficient, alternative to the Ethereum blockchain.
Polkadot: More Chains Are Better Than One Chain
Like Cardano, the Polkadot network does not use the energy-consuming proof-of-work process. A second similarity is that Polkadot was also founded by a former Ethereum founder. What is special about the platform, however, is that it is also designed as a so-called multichain. This enables connections of customized sidechains with public blockchains. This means that additional networks can be set up on Polkadot. Polkadot, therefore, enables different blockchains to exchange messages and transactions securely with each other.
For experts, Polkadot is considered a promising player alongside Ether and Cardano to decisively shape the development of the crypto market in the future. With a market capitalization of $23 billion, the Polkadot currency is currently the eighth largest cryptocurrency in the world.
Polkadot sees itself as the next generation of internet “WEB3 APP”:
Peercoin: The Original Green Coin
Peercoin is a kind of green cryptocurrency of the first era. In 2012, it was the first coin to combine proof-of-work and proof-of-stake-based approaches in a hybrid protocol. This allows the network to function even in the event of a sudden drop in mining output. What makes Peercoins special is the interest rate. Investors in Peercoin are rewarded with an annual interest rate of one percent.
In the mainstream, Peercoin has been flying under the radar for a long time. But Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s environmental criticism of Bitcoin brought Peercoin into the public spotlight. The price of a Peercoin rose from around $0.8 to $3.8 within days. However, the market capitalization is still comparatively tiny at just under 100 million dollars.
Internet Computer: The New The Internet
With a market capitalization of currently $7,2 billion, the “Internet Computer Protocol” makes it right to 20th place among the world’s largest cryptocurrencies. The Internet Computer crypto network was developed by the Dfinity Foundation based in Switzerland. The network aims to offer a decentralized alternative to established cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.
Founder Dominic Williams has made it his goal to stand up against large tech corporations. The Internet Computer network is relatively young and rather less well known beyond the crypto scene. As a result, the underlying currency (ICP) has a certain growth fantasy attached to it. Still, in the fight against big tech companies, we should not forget that Mr. Williams also has some quite capitalistic ideas attached to the network.
From just a technical point of view, the mentioned altcoins are far ahead of Bitcoin and Ethereum. Ethereum has the potential to catch up with ETH 2.0, but still, in the meanwhile new coins have been launched with disruptive features. But in a foreseeable period, no coin will be able to reproduce the community, trust, and decentralization of Bitcoin and Ethereum. Next to that, Ethereum and Bitcoin have earned the trust of investors, where there is still a long way to go for Polkadot, Cardano, and Co. in that space. As we can see with Bitcoin, trust is a valuable price driver.
Still.. it is Altcoin season!