Cryptocurrency trends have skyrocketed over the past couple of years. The newer transactional currency has captured the attention of billionaires and federal and local governments.
The tender started making headlines nearly a decade ago when Satoshi Nakamoto created the infamous Bitcoin as a peer-to-peer currency option. The release initially garnered mixed reactions as investors were uncertain of long-term growth, while others found it innovative enough to buy.
Since the coin was marketed as a legitimate form of currency, some owners grasped onto the concept and used their holdings as a mode of transaction, unaware they had a future goldmine.
One often-referenced story happened in 2010, just a year after the creation of Bitcoin, when one of the first transactions came from an individual who paid 10,000 bitcoins for two pizzas. During the time, the exchange rate wasn't significant enough to capture attention; until it was.
Years later, at one of Bitcoins peaks, that 10,000 coins would have equated to roughly $446 million, rough news for the original owner.
Since crypto's inception, the tender has caused quite the stir, both good and bad. As a result of consumer exposure to sustainability, the tender has recently come under scrutiny for its large environmental footprint, causing some to question its necessity. But some companies recognize the newfound niche of sustainable crypto and are implementing ways to make it eco-friendlier.
Though the currency has only been around for a short period, its environmental impact has seen a relatively large pool of interest. Resulting studies have found the tender incredibly energy-intensive during its creation stage.
Creating and entering new cryptos into circulation requires large computer servers and hours of complex data solving to generate a new block of coins. New coins are then entered into the crypto ledger and used as a legitimate tender.
Essentially, crypto is digital money, and creating digital money uses a lot of energy, resulting in a large footprint. According to an article released by Princeton University, the annual energy usage of Bitcoin is so extensive that it equates to an annual carbon footprint of Denmark.
Changing the Game
Mawson Infrastructure Group aims to "bridge the gap amidst the rapidly emerging Digital Asset Industry and Traditional Capital Markets." They currently operate in Australia and the U.S. but eventually plan to expand their grip on sustainable mining.
The company is one of the most sustainable Bitcoin miners operating on NASDAQ. One of their facilities in Byron Bay, Australia is powered by 100% renewable energy.
Mawson's concept is rather simplistic in nature. Their approach is to mine crypto utilizing alternative energy like wind, nuclear, and hydro, aiming to cut the environmental footprint of the tender significantly.
Its approach to using off-grid energy is unique, driving a sustainable outcome. Not only does traditional mining require mass energy, but power must come from local grids. Simply switching to renewable energy from the grid, though an improvement, would still take away a much-needed resource that could be put to better use elsewhere.
Essentially, by using off-grid alternative energy, Mawson can mine Bitcoin without disrupting the energy output of local grids.
It isn't a perfect system. Transactions will still cause a degree of impact. But the world of alternative energy has grown so significantly in the past decade that its implementation is easier than ever, making the approach accessible and beneficial.
Additionally, the company is rapidly expanding operations. Recently, they "purchased 4,000 of the latest generation ASIC Bitcoin miners — including 2,000 MicroBT M30S and 2,000 Canaan Avalon A1166/1246, this is on top of over 17,000 ASIC Bitcoin miners purchased in Q3 of 2021, taking Mawson's fleet to over 40,000 Bitcoin miners globally", providing even more opportunity for sustainable mining.
In total, Mawson's global operations are estimated to run off of "over 75% non-carbon emitting energy. " An impressive statistic.
Green on the Horizon
In 2020, the company offset 100% of its emissions by funding various alternative energy projects throughout the globe, from wind farms in India and Turkey to a biodiversity project in Australia.
Last year, the company planted 25,000 native trees throughout the U.S. and Australia. Mawson plans to have a total of 78,000 trees planted in 2022, one for each block created on the bitcoin blockchain.
Mawson and their partners claim, "One Tree Planted, Carbon Positive Australia, Carbon Neutral, and Reforest Now," has aided in removing 22,000 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Cryptocurrency has gained substantial news coverage since it's burst onto the scene over a decade ago. Many sources forecast it is here to stay, along with its environmental footprint.
The best approach is to develop mitigative initiatives that help lower the footprint, allowing for the beneficial aspects of crypto like decentralized banking, peer-to-peer currency, etc. - without the negative aspects.
As the world of crypto continues expanding into new realms, we can expect a plethora of sustainable development. In the meantime, supporting sustainable change within the industry, awareness, and technological growth is the best path to a sustainable future.