While the cryptocurrencies have grown a great deal nearly a decade since Bitcoin was first unveiled, the challenge of energy consumption remains. For instance, a recent report claims that processing one Bitcoin transaction uses 5000 times more energy than when transacting using a Visa card.
The amount of energy that Bitcoin and other PoW crypto coins consume has been an issue of concern for a while now. For instance, it is claimed that Bitcoin mining consumes as much energy as some small countries. This figure is expected to continue growing unless a solution can be found.
A Viable Solution
Scientists at Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne, Switzerland, claim to be working on a solution that will help deal with this issue. According to a research paper that they recently published, they have discovered a zero energy alternative that is more secure compared to the current PoW mechanism. The paper claims that double spending of crypto can be prevented using their fast algorithm that consumes less energy.
Currently, cryptocurrency networks prevent double spending by broadcasting each transaction to the whole network. To confirm the transaction, a complex set of calculations are performed and confirmed by more than half of the network.
The new algorithm that is proposed by the research team proposes to broadcast transactions in a similar manner to how gossip spreads. A transaction is broadcast to a small group of people that then broadcasts it to a larger group and so on. The main benefit of this approach is that even when the transaction details are sent to billions, it takes only a few dozen communications to get there.
Instead of each user in the network having to check the transaction, the new model seeks consensus from random users inside the network. The research paper claims that this model is more secure compared to the existing PoW model. Besides that, the scientists claim it consumes less energy. As a result, it has a very low carbon footprint.
The paper has been well received within the scientific community. It recently won the award for Best Paper during the International Symposium on Distributed Computing, which took place on October 16 in Budapest.
The head of the research team claims that have already receiving sponsorship in the EU to begin prototyping their new model. He added that they intend to make their model open source. This way, anyone can download it and examine it to see how robust it is.
This is good for Crypto
The researchers claim that their algorithm’s carbon footprint is just a few grams, compared to BTC, which produces 300 KG per transaction. Another benefit of this new model is speed. In some cases, BTC transactions can take up to an hour to confirm. This new model by the Swiss scientists only takes a few seconds.
The research paper added that the applications of their algorithm go beyond cryptocurrency. It could be used in other sectors such as the secure transfer of property records. The team is also looking into possible integration with smart contracts.
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