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Is Proof of Work Always Bad?

Is Proof of Work Always Bad? Picture depicting Bitcoin work.

Blockchain has been under fire for its carbon footprint, especially with proof of work over proof of stake. But could proof of work be implemented with less detrimental effects on the environment?


TL: DR

Traditional proof of work systems get progressively harder depending on the success rate for no purpose than generating a coin. The Opis Cloud app has a consistent reward rate, helps scientific research and reduces the carbon footprint of cloud computing. 


What is Proof of Work?


Every cryptocurrency has a blockchain; a public ledger made up of blocks of transactions. To enact the original vision for blockchain technology, there needed to be a way to confirm transactions. Proof-of-work was the first solution to this challenge, used as the consensus mechanism for the first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin. 


Proof of work (PoW) adds new blocks to a cryptocurrency’s blockchain, generating a hash that matches the target hash for the current block. Crypto miners must generate a target hash less than or equal to the block’s hash to confirm the block to receive a coin or token. 

Bitcoin’s proof-of-work algorithm aims to produce a new block every ten minutes. Therefore, it adjusts the difficulty of mining Bitcoin according to the rate miners add blocks. When mining completes too quickly, hash computations become more complex and vice versa if it gets easier.  


Why Does it Have Bad Reputation?


Proof of work is renowned for its security but also its inefficiency and environmental impact. As it gets progressively more challenging, the amount of computing power needed to have any significant impact with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin leaves a heavy carbon footprint. It has been estimated that Bitcoin uses the same energy consumption as some large countries. 


What Alternatives are There?


Though proof of work was the first cryptocurrency consensus mechanism, an alternative came out in 2012. Proof of stake, in contrast, selects transaction validators based on how many coins the contributor has staked to the network. 


It can process transactions quicker for lower fees and less energy usage, making proof of stake cryptocurrencies more environmentally friendly. However, PoW is more proven from a security perspective. One potential problem with proof of stake is that parties with large crypto holdings could have too much power. Proof of work doesn’t have this problem.


An additional thought to consider is that the direct implication of how harmful any system can be is the source of power by which they are produced. If a government uses fossil fuels, that energy will harm the environment. However, if the country uses more eco-friendly energy sources, there would be less environmental impact by utilising any blockchain method. 


How does Opis Cloud use Proof of Work?


There is also an alternative way to implement proof of work that may alter the course for proof of work’s reputation and environmental impact. The Opis Cloud application operates on a proof of work system using decentralised mobile technology, which is infinitely less harmful than centralised. 


Using people’s mobile devices is a more eco-friendly way of providing computing power for research. Aside from the benefits of decentralised over the centralised, the average desktop computer will use between 65 to 250 watts, and smartphones use approximately 2 to 6 watts when charging. If the application runs whilst it’s charging, it is much more energy-efficient than leaving a PC on 24/7.


In addition, the calculations necessary to generate tokens through the Cloud app are meaningful as they contribute to scientific research and lower the carbon footprint of companies who utilise the cloud. It is also not progressively more difficult with the sole purpose of creating a new coin. The Opis Cloud application rewards users for completing tasks, and this does not get progressively harder but is a consistent reward mechanism.


More Information


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