Could Cryptocurrencies Become The Eco-Friendly Currency Of Choice In The Future?

Written by on January 17, 2019 in Economy with 0 Comments

Time and time again, we’re faced with advice about how to change our lifestyles to save money. With increasing concern about our carbon footprints, this advice has started to gear towards eco-friendly solutions that could save us a bit of extra cash – but what if we told you that traditional currencies aren’t necessarily good for our environment? While the unique price of Bitcoin and its altcoins may seem unusual to those outside of the financial industries, cryptocurrencies could prove to be our solution to creating an eco-friendly financial system. Here’s why.

Why Isn’t Our Current Money Green?

While the obvious answer would lie in the simple fact that most of the world’s physical currency comes in paper or metal forms, the carbon footprint of our spending actually stretches further than you may initially think. Every purchase that we make, whether with physical cash, a credit card or using contactless payments, has an effect on the environment. From the creation of physical cash to the cost of electricity and transaction power needed to enable card payments, energy is needed and this can leave a carbon footprint.

When you then consider what is being purchased, this only grows further. Purchasing a flight, for example, could cause carbon emissions of up to 4.6kg or more, all depending on where you’re flying and sometimes, with which airline. In fact, some budget airlines can cause as much as 10kg of CO2e. While cryptocurrencies won’t reduce this level of carbon, it can help to eliminate the impact of the currency we use to spend – so, why isn't it already in use?

Aren’t Cryptocurrencies Green Already?

While cryptocurrencies are a digital commodity that is hosted, used and spent online, the carbon footprint is actually surprisingly high. Bitcoin is thought to be the biggest culprit for this, with the excessive electricity, equipment, and energy needed to mine each coin. In most cases, a single coin won’t hold a high enough value to cover the costs of the power needed to mine the coin in the first place.

For this reason, coins are only really being mined by established operations that have the right technology available. However, even with the best technology and the fastest mining process, the carbon footprint is huge.

So, How Could They Improve In The Future?

Steps are already being taken to minimise the impact that cryptocurrencies can have on the environment, with new coins being introduced daily that claim to solve the challenges that Bitcoin faces. NANO is thought to be the most environmentally ‘clean’ cryptocurrency available, with a network that offers no mining and can even be powered by just a single wind turbine. Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it is ready to take on the world’s currency issues just yet.

Priced at $0.8189 (at the time of writing), this coin is arguably one of the most realistic in terms of everyday spending, but it also doesn’t quite have the trading volume or the publicity to be able to become a solution to eco-friendly spending. It does, however, show that the world of cryptocurrency does have the potential to create a currency worth spreading and spending that could actually reduce our financial carbon footprint.

There is no sure-fire way to determine whether or not cryptocurrencies could become the eco-friendly alternative to traditional cash, but the evidence does suggest that with the right publicity, development and global adoption, we could swap out physical cash for digital spending on a larger scale. While it is unlikely in the coming months, through trading, investment and the public buzz

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