Blockchains are proving more and more to be a perfect ally—not a threat to efficient energy consumption.
Last week, the US Patent & Trademark Office has published a patent filing from Intel that would supposedly maximize the energy consumed during blockchain mining. Intel’s patent outlines a system where energy expended by blockchain mining processors can be used to simultaneously sequence genetic data.
According to the patent filing, the system enables miners to maximize their energy use by adding processing tasks that can be done at the same time as mining—in this case determining sequences of nucleobases in nucleic acid.
“The present disclosure, by contrast, involves a blockchain protocol which, when implemented in a blockchain system, enables miners to accomplish additional useful work while generating proofs of work (POWs) for new blocks.”
Critics have been quick to point out that blockchain mining consumes a substantial amount of energy, with some using this argument to favour proof of stake (PoS) over proof of work (PoW). Yet this remains a futile attempt at winning the blockchain bashing war, particularly between Ethereum and Bitcoin.
This argument fails as analysis underpins the fact that blockchain technology still consumes less energy than traditional banking, considering VISA and the banking infrastructure required to keep traditional banking functional make up an entire industry with intermediaries, branches, and many other machines and offices—all of which consume energy.
Apart from the fact that this whole industry consumes more energy than blockchain miners in proportion to the population they serve, research has also been done stating that blockchain can be further developed to be far more efficient in terms of energy consumption too. Not only that: blockchain technology can actually be employed to systematize an efficient energy system and is actually already being used to maximize the distribution of renewable energy.
As the world transitions to better energy options, budding entrepreneurs should look into this marriage between blockchains and renewable energy. A few have already launched such projects, and things are looking good for them. For example, check out sonnenCommunity, a blockchain-regulated community in Germany that taps on another decentralized resource for energy—neighbouring houses. Quite clever, isn’t it?