The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is more serious than ever about establishing a link between distributed ledger technologies (DLT) and climate change.
The OSTP posted a report that didn’t condemn blockchain technology. In fact, the report argued that mining can have a positive impact on grid stability and renewable development.
Still, the fact remains that mining practices may also exacerbate the current emissions and by extension climate problems that the world faces.
In Climate and Energy Implications of Crypto Assets in the United States, the OSTP argued that cryptocurrency mining could potentially hinder the US’ broader ambition to hit net-zero carbon pollution targets, which can impact the economy and have adverse effects on human life.
The main issue, the OSTP argued, lies with the Proof of Work (POW) consensus mechanism, which is linked to cryptocurrency mining, and which is the biggest consumer (and most popular one) of electricity.
Bitcoin and POW networks now contribute 0.3% to greenhouse gas emissions, the report argues. What this should lead to, added the OSTP, is that US authorities come together to ensure that digital assets are developed in a sustainable manner.
This means, low water usage, low energy usage and low noise generation, as well as clean energy used by cryptocurrency miners.
The best way to possibly achieve this could be through the use of a Proof of Stake network which is now preferred by many cryptocurrencies, including Ethereum, and most new developments. Whether the US begins clamping down on PoW cryptocurrencies remains to be seen.