One of the first things that really stood out to me when I FINALLY *exasperated sigh* scratched the surface of understanding what blockchain is, is that the “Proof of Work” model so utterly wasteful! Here was a fantastic technology with a mind numbing plethora of applications, but wait, wasn’t it consuming a massive amount of energy?
While the world moves towards environmental sustainability and clean energy, we find ourselves confounded with an emerging technology with the potential to help millions, only to see it deplete the earth’s resources and heat its atmosphere globally. Some of the research in this area may sound silly at first, but once you come to realise that something really has to be done, you become more open to seemingly bizarre suggestions. I hereby would like to present one such “silly” idea.
Let’s get into the drive-train of how mining public blockchain uses resources. I’m going to imagine our source of energy for this little activity as hydro-power. Why, you ask? Because the very picture of coal powered thermal power plants is heartbreaking. Not to mention the idea of wasting it, will surely give me a headache. Now as the water rotates electric turbines (incurring losses, hereby referred to as IL), and generates alternating current (IL), it is then stepped up to a high voltage (IL). It is then transmitted over long distances (IL), and later stepped down to low voltage (IL) before it is used in our homes.
When electricity is consumed from our power sockets via an adaptor (IL), it is then converted to 5V/12V direct current (again, IL) to be used as digital signals in say a digital ASIC or GPU to mine a block. Competing with millions of other nodes to solve a hash puzzle gives rise to a lot of waste in resources.
Now what if, we could use analog ASICs, such as analog tachometers (devices that measure RPM) to sense when a cycle is pedalled over a certain rpm. Or for example, a car that gives proof-of-rotation so to speak. It would greatly reduce the power consumption of a public blockchain.
Now I know what you’re thinking, we’d need great WiFi capabilities all over the world to let every car and bicycle be a node on a blockchain, not to mention governments with the largest number of public transport vehicles, and their citizens could collude in this scenario to execute a 51% attack. This last bit is unlikely, seeing as how we can barely get 51% of the population vote for a political party with certainty, or side with a certain football club for that matter.
All in all, just another thing to mull over. While the problem stays very much at large, wouldn’t it be nice?
Check out the Order of Hash agenda, there will be an expert to talk about exactly this.