Those who watch the metaverse outside of the crypto industry are often horrified by the carbon footprint of NFTs or the energy consumed while using Ethereum. However, Solana’s energy use report for November 2021 puts the numbers into perspective and signals a new trend in the crypto industry – the drive to be eco-friendly.
Greener than Google?
Solana’s report said,
“In the November 2021 update, the Solana Foundation determined that a single Solana transaction takes 0.00051 kWh, or 1,836 joules of energy. “
To help readers better visualize this value, the report also provided a list of other common activities and their energy needs. For example, Solana consumes more energy than a single Google search, which would consume around 1,080 joules.
However, a Solana transaction is less energy intensive than working for an hour on the computer, which would need around 46,800 joules. As Solana plans to take on 1 billion users and 1 million developers, it’s easy to see how the electric bill adds up.
Regarding blockchains, Solana’s rate of energy consumption per transaction was several times lower than that of an Eth2 transaction, which used 126,000 joules, according to the Solana report. Meanwhile, an Ethereum transaction used around 692,820,000 joules while the same on Bitcoin was a formidable 6,995,592,000 joules.
Yet another competition?
With Ethereum’s gas costs and the hefty electric bill, there is a lot of pressure on blockchains and NFT artists to use more energy efficient platforms. Based on its report and its fifth market cap status, Solana appears to be a solid alternative.
However, it may not be the first automatic choice. Avalanche is an Ethereum virtual machine [EVM] compatible and also prides itself on being environmentally friendly. On the other hand, Neon Labs announced that it is bringing EVM compatibility to the Solana mainnet. Clearly, the race is far from over.
– Neon Labs (@neonlabsorg) November 9, 2021
Relationships with reality
Well, Ripple is another contender. According to the XRP Ledger, an XRP transaction consumes around 0.0079 kWh. That’s more than Solana’s 0.00051 kWh per transaction.
However, when Ripple partnered with Bhutan to create Ngultrum’s digital CBDC, one of the main reasons for choosing the San Francisco-based blockchain company was sustainability. Additionally, while announcing its partnership with the Republic of Palau to develop the country’s digital currency, Ripple claimed that its XRP book was chosen because it was carbon neutral.
Given these facts, it appears that in the future, more environmentally friendly blockchains will need to back up their claims with audits and adoption milestones.