Block Stars is a new podcast series from Ripple that focuses on the most innovative and impactful thinkers on blockchain. On each episode, a special guest meets with Ripple CTO David Schwartz to examine the various effects of the technology and predict how it will grow and develop.
Based on the Block Stars kick-off with Ripple co-founder and Executive Chairman Chris Larsen, this episode introduces the CEO and co-founder of AIKON, Marc Blinder, who discusses the environmental impact of cryptocurrencies.
The proof-of-work consensus mechanism on which Bitcoin is based consumes enormous amounts of energy. A recent study found that hundreds of thousands of computers solving cryptographic puzzles and making Bitcoin around the clock emit more than 22 megatons of carbon – the equivalent of Las Vegas or a country like Sri Lanka.
“The thing about proof of work is that you are basically turning electricity into money,” explains Marc. “The more Bitcoin is worth, the more electricity is needed to run the system as there is a lot more competition. Environmental degradation is built into the system. “
Marc believes unsustainable mining practices are an obstacle to the proliferation of digital assets. Fortunately, not all blockchains are that inefficient. XRP’s carbon footprint is nearly 10 million times smaller than Bitcoin’s, while AIKON uses a more efficient proof-of-stake protocol. However, it is not enough just to be sustainable. Reaching a new audience also requires a great user experience, as Tesla demonstrated with its high quality electric vehicles.
“Tesla [has] a better car and it’s good for the environment, ”notes Marc. “The issues with mass adoption are actually at the front-end user experience level. A quality experience for the average person will have the greatest impact. We need very efficient systems if we want to use blockchain for [a range of] different use cases in the future. “
Marc’s company AIKON enhances the blockchain user experience by helping people link their email and Facebook accounts to their blockchain identities. The simplification and accessibility of the process encourages wider adoption and brings people who can really benefit from the power of blockchain.
“I taught some Syrian refugees how to use a crypto wallet,” remembers Marc. “One of them turns around two minutes later and says,” If I give these 12 words to my family in Syria, will they have the bitcoin? “People suddenly have access to something they didn’t have before. Blockchain levels the playing field [for] People all over the world. I think public blockchains will win in the end because they’re better for small businesses … and for individual people. “
Subscribe to the Block Stars podcast today for more insights from Marc on how blockchain can be made more sustainable, why decentralization will change the world, and hear how he made a “thought-provoking and wonderful” science fiction Roman recommends.