White collar millennials certainly display strong ‘champagne socialist’ tendencies, passionately railing against the dangers of inequality in their catered start-up bubbles. They really do make a perfect pairing with the other great fuck-face generation: the boomers — there’s an underlying fakeness that’s undeniable in both.
We examine how the protection of the environment (or lack thereof) will play a pivotal role in defining how viable cryptocurrencies are for the long run, with millennials eager to blaze a new path of digital monetary freedom, and boomers deeply vested in maintaining the status quo.
No Holds Barred Capitalism vs. Phony Environmentalism
It’s utterly fitting that the ‘environment’ has become the clashing point of their idealistic values. It’s no holds barred capitalism (drill baby) vs. phony environmentalism (carbon offset it all).
Making this flip-script that much more enjoyable, we now have a coin that’s been created out of thin-air by the nerd millennial elite that just devours all energy in sight to verify transactions — causing deep outrage from Boomers at the absolute plunder of pristine resources to obtain this make-believe wealth.
The Devil That You Know
Millennials need a good defence here, the obvious one that’s right in front of them is gold — the most handsome devil of them all. While it’s certainly fact that mining crypto is polluting business, how does it really compare to mining that other great store of wealth: gold. It’s either power plants spewing CO2 and other noxiousness for a bitcoin or two or clawing out pristine jungle, forest and mountains for a tiny amount of gold.
The reality of the Instagram pouty face generation is that ‘backdrops’ are key, and all things considered saving ‘nature’ for the sake of a viral selfie is as good of a cause as any. At the face of it Bitcoin mining doesn’t really mess this up, it’s just a continuation of the ‘great outsource’ — out of sight and out of mind, over to you China. However, the digital puppet masters are a sensitive and tenacious lot, they view any slights of their technology greatness as a direct punk. They definitely don’t punch back, they ‘tech back’ and there are certainly fixes in sight….
Proof of Stake: The Equivalent of a Sex Vacation Without the Guilt or Inhibition
Proof-of-stake as a transaction verification process has the potential to become the environmental game changer. Let’s compare the status quo (proof-of-work) vs proof-of-stake.
Proof of Work (or mining) – The way transactions are verified on the Bitcoin blockchain is through a process called ‘mining’. Bitcoin mining consist of computers solving ever more complex mathematical puzzles to verify a block of transactions, with Bitcoin as the reward for solving the puzzle. The rub is that it takes a fuckload of energy. How much? In the neighbourhood of what Morocco uses annually (30 TWh). And that figure is only expected to climb exponentially higher over the coming years.
Proof of Stake (PoS) – An alternative verification system that replaces the PoW, it’s probabilistic in nature (akin to a roulette table). The validators (replacing miners) who put up their stake (coins) have a proportional probability of being chosen to verify the block of transactions. The benefit of this approach is that there isn’t a power-consuming puzzle to solve by miners. Rather, the act of putting up significant capital in coins acts as a significant economic deterrent from validators corrupting the block of transactions, as it would cause the value of the cryptocurrency to fall, resulting in the value of their stake falling as well.
By transitioning from ‘Proof of Work’ to ‘Proof of Stake’ to validate transactions, the computational horsepower would be significantly lower — a massive game changer from an environmental footprint perspective. Ethereum – the third largest cryptocurrency, will attempt to roll out a hybrid PoS verification system with its Casper protocol upgrade (hard fork). If they can prove protocol works on scale we believe the Bitcoin community will be hard-pressed not to look at a similar less-polluting option.
If Bitcoin wants to be viewed as a defined and trusted store of wealth, akin to gold, securing a sizeable relative environmental advantage will be key.