Mozilla, the company behind Firefox browser will no longer accept ‘proof-of-work’ cryptocurrencies, which are more energy intensive. This means Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dogecoin, etc, won’t be accepted as crypto donation. Proof-of-work or PoW requires high-end equipment and mining devices to function, making it energy inefficient. These mining centers then release massive carbon dioxide affecting the environment ultimately.
According to Digiconomist, Ethereum consumes about 112 terawatt-hours of electricity per year, which is comparable to that of Netherlands and more than what Philippines or Pakistan use. A single transaction on Ethereum is equivalent to the power consumption of an average US household for over nine days.
A single Ethereum transaction also equals the energy consumption of more than 1,50,000 Visa card transactions. In the case of Bitcoin, it’s even higher — 137 terawatt-hours of electricity per year.
Therefore, Mozilla will only accept ‘proof-of-stake’ cryptocurrencies. Some of the popular PoS cryptocurrencies are Solana, Cardano, Polkadot, etc. PoS only allows a few crypto miners or ‘validators’ to mine cryptocurrency. This means less computational power is required. So, high-tech mining equipment is not needed, reducing the mining energy significantly.
Mozilla said that these decisions are informed by its climate commitments. In January 2021, Mozilla pledged to significantly reduce our greenhouse gas footprint year over year, aiming to exceed the net zero emissions commitment of the Paris Climate Agreement.
“In our climate commitments, we also promised to help develop, design, and improve products from a sustainability perspective. We believe that Mozilla can play a positive role in the industry by encouraging those cryptocurrencies that we do accept to be transparent about their energy consumption patterns,” the company said in a blog post.
Earlier, in January, Mozilla had paused the ability to donate cryptocurrency and announced to conduct a review to understand cryptocurrency’s environmental impact, and determine if and when Mozilla should accept cryptocurrency donations.
Meanwhile, Ethereum is nearing a massive upgrade that will change its infrastructure and make it consume about 99 per cent less energy. Ethereum developers are planning to do this by shifting from a Proof-of-work model to Proof-of-stake. However, as of now it is unclear when the transition will happen—and currently, Ethereum operates on PoW algorithm.
In other news, crypto storage company Blockstream and Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s Bitcoin development firm Block Inc announced to collaborate to build an open-source and solar-powered bitcoin mining facility in the United States.