15 Environmentally Sustainable Cryptocurrencies To Invest In Right Now
Cryptocurrency might be best known for its potential financial risk, but it’s increasingly under fire for another less-than-desirable issue. In recent months, concern has swirled around the negative impact that crypto is having on the environment. That impact, in a nutshell, is that as cryptocurrency trading becomes more common, so does energy use as a result of it.
The Cost of Mining Coins and Tracking Transactions
Estimating the energy consumption involved with cryptocurrency mining is a complex task, but it’s generally understood as the energy used to digitally mine crypto coins and process trading transactions plus the power usage of the hardware devices used to support these efforts. Estimates vary, but some analysts place the annual energy consumption tied to crypto as being on par with a small country.
15 Environmentally-Friendly Crypto Options
If you’re interested in investing in digital currency but also want to do so in the most eco-conscious way possible, take a look at these cryptocurrencies, which are all helping the industry forge a thoughtful and expedient path to sustainability.
1. Algorand (ALGO)
In April, Algorand declared its blockchain to be completely carbon-neutral. This crypto has also fostered a partnership with Climate Trade, an organization dedicated to helping companies improve their sustainability profiles.
2. BitGreen (BITG)
BitGreen’s preferred form of industry disruption is financial incentives that can drive toward policy change. This fall, it plans to launch its anticipated new mobile impact wallet. The app will allow users to record their environmentally-friendly actions, such as using a ride share service, and will offer financial rewards for doing so.
3. Cardano (ADA)
Created by Ethereum‘s co-founder, Charles Hoskinson, Cardano refers to itself as a third-generation blockchain. It’s the first blockchain to use multiple layers of technology. This cryptocurrency has recently been the target of some backlash over its struggle to gain the kind of momentum that Hoskinson had planned, but it’s still the world’s fifth-largest cryptocurrency.
4. Chia (XCH)
Chia, which was created by Bram Cohen of BitTorrent, can be mined on Amazon Web Services cloud computing platform. It puts a user’s desktop to use by offering downloadable software that allows users to earn Chia tokens by running the decentralized platform on their hard drives.
With a rumored summer debut, start-up DEVVIO is a potential up-and-coming ‘green’ offering in the space. DEVVIO claims that its blockchain network can solve problems that others have not, including integration with financial institutions and efficiency. DEVVIO claims that it can process up to eight million transactions per second.
6. Hedera Hashgraph (HBAR)
Hedera Hashgraph’s popularity is on the rise, having recently surpassed Ethereum (ETH) in number of trades. The technology behind this crypto is complex, with the system relying on a note-comparing protocol that eliminates the need for progression through the entire blockchain.
The crypto plans upgrades in late 2021 that will allow for sharding, which will fragment the network and in doing so, allow for growth in the number of transactions without an energetic downside.
7. Holo (HOT)
Holo sets out to provide its users with their own blockchains. Each individual “agent” or “host” exists as both its own storage site and blockchain, and earns holo tokens in return. Holo is growing rapidly in popularity, particularly because of the potential this crypto has to empower anyone interested in cryptocurrency still sitting on the sidelines to jump in and invest.
8. IOTA (MIOTA)
IOTA doesn’t rely on a blockchain. Instead, this crypto uses a cryptography-based method of verification called Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG). This allows transactions and verifications to keep pace with each other in real time.
9. MetaHash (MHC)
This decentralized, open-source cryptocurrency runs on Blockchain 4.0 and claims a validation rate of fewer than three seconds per transaction.
10. Nano (NANO)
This cryptocurrency doesn’t rely on mining, which means that its carbon footprint is already fairly negligible. This is because Nano’s process for confirming transactions skirts the need for an entire blockchain, improving speed and efficiency without any risk of increase in energy consumption.
11. Ripple (XRP)
Ripple, which is a digital tool rather than a currency, describes itself as an “open-source, permissionless and decentralized blockchain technology that can settle transactions in three to five seconds.”
12. Signum (SIGNA)
The blockchain that was formerly Burstcoin is now Signum, with plans to take the lessons from Burstcoin and rebuild thoughtfully. Goals for the rebirth include a focus on sustainable mining, decentralization, feature innovation, low fees, and widespread accessibility.
13. Solarcoin (SLR)
This crypto runs on real-time, in-real-life energy conservation — each hour of power generated with the use of solar technology creates one new Solarcoin. Although the burden of proof is on solar power users, there’s an automatic financial incentive for doing so.
14. Stellar Lumens (XLM)
Stellar Lumens is the cryptocurrency of Stellar, an open-sourced blockchain system that offers an open-source payment alternative. Stellar excels at efficient cross-currency transactions, which matters more as cryptocurrency trading becomes more common.
15. TRON (TRX)
TRX is the dominant cryptocurrency on the TRON blockchain, which aims to decentralize the web.
Good To Know
Myriad companies are taking action to make cryptocurrency sustainable. An initiative in the private sector, called the Crypto Climate Accord, is a collection of players in the space working toward net-zero emissions from crypto-fueled electricity consumption by 2030. The entity takes its inspiration from the Paris Climate Agreement. At present, 45 companies are participants in the Crypto Climate Accord.
An Industry Moving Rapidly Toward Sustainable Crypto
Although much remains to be done to reduce the environmental impact of trading cryptocurrency, eco-minded investors can feel good about the fact that there’s a notable and ongoing movement in that direction. While the Crypto Climate Accord continues its work and the environmental impact of cryptocurrency trading remains under scrutiny, concerned traders have many ways to vote with their coins.
GOBankingRates’ Crypto Guides
- What Is Cardano? (ADA)
- What is Bitcoin Cash? (BCH)
- What Is Chainlink? (LINK)
- What Is Dogecoin? (DOGE)
- What is Litecoin (LTC)
- What is Polkadot? (DOT)
- What is Ripple? (XRP)
- What is Stellar (XLM)
- What is Tether? (USDT)
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Last updated: Sept. 27, 2021
Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.
- The New Yorker. 2021. "Why Bitcoin Is Bad for the Environment."
- Digiconomist. "Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index."
- Harvard Business Review. 2021. "How Much Energy Does Bitcoin Actually Consume?"
- Algorand. 2021. "Algorand Pledges to be the Greenest Blockchain with a Carbon-Negative Network Now and in the Future."
- CoinDesk. 2021. "Amazon Offers Mining in the Cloud for New Chia Cryptocurrency."
- Computerworld. 2019. "Start-up Devvio Claims Its Blockchain Can Handle 8M Transactions a Second."
- Nasdaq. 2021. "Stellar Lumens Still Has One of the Best Stories To Ride the Crypto Wave."
- InvestorPlace. 2021. "Holo Tokens Are Disrupting the Crypto Space, Keeping HOT Coins on Fire."