Recently, Scotland’s first cryptocurrency, Scotcoin, has become carbon neutral by offsetting 100 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. The reason why this is such an important achievement is because most technologies behind blockchain are known for using too much energy in their functioning. Bitcoin and Ethereum are, for instance, the main examples in this sense.
As the climate change agenda pushes in face of environmental disasters happening everywhere in the world (but especially in the Pacific region), it is extremely important that every enterprise and technology has a commitment with decarbonisation. In fact, there are already several blockchain platforms nowadays that use new strategies to reduce their impact on the environment.
While some may use clean energy resources (solar or wind power, for example), other blockchain platforms have decided to actually adjust their technology to make it more power-efficient. This is the case of the Takamaka blockchain, a platform developed by the company AiliA in 2018.
Spokesperson of AiliA, Professor Nicola Fausto Spoto is an expert in languages and techniques for the development and analysis of smart contracts in blockchain. He explains that energy saving is something guaranteed by the type of algorithm the Takamaka blockchain uses: the Takamaka Proof-of-stake (TPoS).
In general terms, TPoS is a type of algorithm that is already known to be an alternative to the algorithm used by Bitcoin blockchain, for example. As mentioned before, Bitcoin is not an energy-efficient blockchain, as it uses at least 99% of the energy consumption just to perform tasks like selecting a block marker. In the case of TPoS though, miners are completely removed from the equation to be substituted by “validators”.
Professor Spoto explains that unlike miners, who use computing power and hence currently solve complex mathematical problems to validate blocks, validators “temporarily allocate” their processing funds on blocks deemed valid (only at the time of the calculation of the stake). In other words, validators have a smarter strategy as they will only consume energy that is actually required for tasks, when they are allocated.
In addition to that, Professor Spoto highlights the fact that the safety ensured by the TPoS is another reason why people should be encouraged to become stakeholders of Takamaka – that is, more people should be entering the blockchain game by betting their coins on validators. “In TPoS, a validator can be anyone who is willing to prove that they own a certain amount of cryptocurrency,” he explains. “As miners try to increase their chances of solving complex mathematical problems through additional computing power and hence power consumption, validators increase their chances of being selected for the validation of a block by inviting stakeholders to allocate tokens at their node.
What is more, the Takamaka blockchain is so advanced compared to competitors that it is not only investing in the future of the environment, but also considering emerging technologies that could put blockchains at risk. That is the case of quantum computing, a technology that is still in development, but which already poses a great threat to cryptocurrencies and blockchain. However, Professor Spoto explains that the Takamaka blockchain uses qTesla, an algorithm that provides a totally new approach of protection from quantum attacks.
Initiatives such as Takamaka have been proving that, in spite of the pessimism of the so-called “cryptowinter”, blockchain is still a promising and heated market with young companies and start-ups still raising huge amounts of money, both from venture capital and fundraisers originating from crypto crowdfunding. Professor Spoto mentions protocols such as DeFi, NFT and WEB3 as examples of the present success of blockchain.
Since its creation in 2018, the number of registered users on the Takamaka blockchain has only increased – to date, there are almost 20,000 registered and authorised users. In 2021, the platform has also received VQF authorisation, which ensures that the Takamaka blockchain is fully compliant with Swiss anti-money laundering regulations and is considered digital money for all purposes.