Although criticism has been levied against crypto for wasteful energy use, the press overlooks eco-friendly options which are available. Even the discussion of NFTs has had pundits claiming that now even art will start to destroy the environment. This is a surface level take which overlooks the many ways that we can run crypto without waste.
One great example of this is Banano, a project which distributes its currency through participation in critical scientific research through the long-running [email protected] project. Banano has chosen to distribute its coin through participation in the [email protected] project, which is a distributed computing effort seeking to discover medical treatments by simulating the structure and interaction of proteins. In the twenty years since its inception, [email protected] has been cited in hundreds of scientific papers - a substantial achievement. It also serves as a pioneering model of participatory science, allowing people of any background to help advance the cause and allowing scientist access to unprecedented data without having to beg for a grant from gatekeepers.
For several weeks, the crypto community Banano team has dominated the #1 spot for contributors to [email protected], and a contingent from $DOGE has also begun to appear in the Top 20 leader-board. In a world where so much hashing power is spent on comparatively worthless number guessing games, it is a great sign to see miners turning their resources towards doing scientifically useful computation in conjunction with crypto.
As for other coins, there remains the possibility that they could find their own ways to integrate useful computation into their coin reward systems. Newcomers and outsiders might not understand that much of what BTC and other mining pools spend their energy on is not an essential part of the blockchain's function, but rather simply a distribution method to reward node participants for keeping the ledger. In theory, a consensus on these networks could vote to change the rules of their own currency towards another method. Historically such protocol changes have been difficult to achieve and often result in hard forks. However, in a future where many such difficult decisions may need to be made, we perhaps will be seeing this more and more.
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