Bitcoin (CCC:BTC-USD) may still reign over the cryptocurrency market, but it’s facing major backlash now due to its energy-intensive technology. In fact, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) recently took aim at the crypto, citing concerns about its “impact on the environment,” among other issues. Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO Elon Musk backtracked on BTC as well, saying the company would not accept it as payment. Against that backdrop, Bitcoin has given up a large amount of its recent gains. Therefore, today I will discuss seven of the more eco-friendly cryptos to keep on your radar screen.
Bitcoin mining has overtaken entire countries in power consumption. According to metrics from the University of Cambridge, the electricity used in bitcoin mining each year even exceeds the annual consumptions of Ukraine and Sweden. Bitcoin mining consumes roughly 133 terawatt-hours of energy, making up around 0.61% of global electricity consumption.
Bitcoin is based on a “proof-of-work” system that consumes massive levels of processing power per token. However, cryptos that use a “proof-of-storage” or “proof-of-stake” systems instead consume far less energy. “Proof-of-space” can even be greener, as it relies on hard-drive storage rather than processing power.
The crypto industry has already taken some steps to regulate itself. For example, some crypto and fintech leaders recently signed the “Crypto Climate Accord,” which aims to have all of the world’s blockchains powered by 100% renewables by 2025. Millennials and Gen Z are especially becoming increasingly concerned about the carbon footprints of digital currencies. So, many investors are already searching for greener cryptos that would potentially do little harm to the environment.
With that information, here’s a list of seven more eco-friendly altcoins that I expect to gain traction through the rest of the year. Let’s take a closer look at these cryptos, which have the potential to become the ultimate sources of green profit in the digital world:
- Algorand (CCC:ALGO-USD)
- Cardano (CCC:ADA-USD)
- Chia Coin (CCC:XCH-USD)
- Hedera Hashgraph (CCC:HBAR-USD)
- Holo (CCC:HOT-USD)
- Ripple (CCC:XRP-USD)
- Lumens (CCC:XLM-USD)
Cryptos for the Environment: Algorand (ALGO-USD)
52-week range: $0.1843 – $1.8246
Market capitalization: ~$2.98 billion
Released in late 2019, Algorand is a relatively new crypto asset that’s growing by the day. It serves as a decentralized cryptocurrency and smart-contract platform. Founded by MIT professor Silvio Micali, it is designed as a scalable, secure, governance-minded blockchain.
ALGO-USD uses a proof-of-stake protocol, enabling holders to engage in all the steps. It aims to develop a transparent platform utilizing decentralized projects and applications and “ensures that each user’s influence on the choice of a new block is proportional to the user’s stake in the system.”
Algorand does not involve mining. In fact, it recently declared that its blockchain was fully carbon neutral, thanks to its partnership with ClimateTrade, which focuses on carbon-emissions transparency and traceability.
Like most other altcoins, ALGO did not do much in the first half of 2020. However, risk appetite emerged in the crypto space with the new year, which it started at around 40 cents. It hit an all-time-high (ATH) in February, after which it gave up some of the gains. Today, it trades for 96 cents.
Volatility is the name of the game in cryptos. That said, the longer-term prospects of Algorand could be positive as it focuses on the development of its platform and apps. Blockchain sustainability issues could provide ALGO with further tailwinds for growth.
52-week range: $0.0506 – $2.4618
Market cap: ~$47.54 billion
Cardano has been making headlines as one of the most environmentally-conscious cryptos out there. ADA-USD is designed on the principle of proof-of-stake, rather than proof-of-work. Therefore, it requires much less computing power to complete a transaction.
Last week, Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson wrote to Musk in a tweet: “are we finally going to have the Cardano conversation? Come to my farm […] Got sweet tea and minidonkeys.” Hoskinson has indicated that ADA only uses 6 gigawatt hours of energy annually, a fraction of what Bitcoin is estimated to use.
Cardano is designed as a new-generation crypto that “aims to improve the scaling issues of Bitcoin and the smart contract deployment principles of Ethereum.” ADA-USD uses a two-layered blockchain, the Cardano Settlement Layer (CSL) and the Cardano Control Layer (CCL). This hierarchical structure helps address scalability and use across different financial systems.
On top of this, the digital asset has recorded a rise in adoption in the decentralized finance (DeFi) space due to its capability to build smart contracts within the Cardano network. These smart contracts enable developers to construct decentralized applications or other novel tokens.
Thanks to its scalable network and speedy transactions, ADA-USD will likely keep thriving in the crypto space. In addition, analysts indicate that sustainability issues associated with the carbon footprint of cryptos should provide Cardano tailwinds for growth. So far this year, ADA-USD has returned over 800%.
Cryptos for the Environment: Chia Coin (XCH-USD)
52-week range: $561.89 – $ 1,934.51
Market cap: ~$512.7 million
Chia Coin is a new crypto that had its debut on May 3. It claims to be an eco-friendly alternative to BTC-USD. Chia was first designed in 2017 with a focus on the environmental impact of cryptocurrency mining. Bram Cohen, the founder of Chia Network, also helped found the BitTorrent (CCC:BTT-USD) network.
Chia points out that it has a much smaller carbon footprint than other cryptos. Instead of proof-of-work, the network relies on “proof-of-space-and-time,” allowing anyone to mine XCH-USD on a single computer using spare space and storing data over a span of time.
On its first day of trading, XCH-USD hit a record price. Then, on May 6, it fell to an all-time low. However, the price has since skyrocketed thanks to an announcement by Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN). The crypto can now be mined on the cloud computing platform Amazon Web Services (AWS), which even provides a tutorial on how to start mining XCH-USD for novices.
Bullish crypto investors believe that the Amazon news will lead to a steady increase in the price of XCH-USD. If you believe that disk space instead of computing power will likely be more important in the coming months, then you should definitely keep XCH on your shopping list.
Hedera Hashgraph (HBAR-USD)
52-week range: $0.0278 – $ 0.4494
Market cap: ~$1.99 billion
Hedera Hashgraph is a decentralized public network mainly used for transaction fees and other types of payments and micropayments. HBAR-USD was funded through an initial coin offering (ICO) back in August 2018.
HBAR-USD has seen over a billion transactions and rivals Ethereum (CCC:ETH-USD) in many ways, making it one of the more notable cryptocurrency networks out there. The company utilizes blockchain for its crypto network and hashgraph consensus for security. The result is rapid transfer speeds; a platform that boasts 10,000 transactions per second as well as average transaction fees under one penny.
Moreover, Hedera has attracted the attention of investors worried about the environment. HBAR-USD is a proof-of-stake token, so it uses much less energy than proof-of-work names. In addition, Hedera utilizes Power Transition to facilitate sustainability projects. This is a “highly scalable” digital energy platform that allows individuals and companies to control their energy use.
In the past 12 months, HBAR-USD is up 565%. It hit an all-time high on Mar. 14. In February, Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG) also joined the network’s governing council. Other companies on the council include IBM (NYSE:IBM) and Boeing (NYSE:BA).
So, if you want to invest in cryptos for the long-term while being cognizant of the environment, you should put Hedera Hashgraph on your shopping list.
Cryptos for the Environment: Holo (HOT-USD)
52-week range: $$0.0004296 – $0.03157
Market cap: ~$1.36 billion
Holochain offers developers a cheaper, more scalable alternative to blockchain. The framework allows ordinary web users to utilize peer-to-peer (P2P) Holochain apps. This name does not rely on proof-of-work or proof-of-stake. Rather, users earn “HoloFuel” in return for sharing extra space and computing power to host apps.
Put another way, each user provides some computing power and storage. P2P web applications can, therefore, function at a massive scale without the need for a centralized infrastructure. So, Holochain does not require mining or large amounts of energy.
HOT-USD started this year at $0.0006. Now, though, the crypto is hovering at $0.0079. This name had better positive momentum earlier in 2021, but it could see more movement with the new focus on environment-conscious cryptos.
52-week range: $0.1742 – $1.9649
Market cap: ~$43.47 billion
XRP Ledger’s native digital asset, Ripple, is one of the cryptos with more sustainable environmental costs than BTC-USD due to its less-intensive mining and transaction networks. Ripple claims that XRP-USD is far-and-away more energy efficient than Bitcoin. It even offers an interactive calculator to measure the environmental impact of different assets and activities.
On top of this, RippleNet is a global decentralized network connecting payments players. Its cryptocurrency platform allows people to transfer money between one another in a secure and fast manner. More than 300 financial institutions utilize the Ripple network.
Of course, in recent months, this crypto has been in the news due to an ongoing lawsuit from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The lawsuit alleges that XRP-USD tokens are unregistered and that, as such, Ripple has broken the law. Investors in XRP-USD are hopeful that the lawsuit will bring no real damage to the crypto.
Year-to-date (YTD), XRP-USD is up over 400%. Meanwhile, Ripple has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2030. If you can handle the volatility in XRP due to the lawsuit, then this altcoin definitely deserves further attention.
Cryptos for the Environment: Lumens (CCC:XLM-USD)
52-week range: $0.0613 – $0.7965
Market cap: ~$11.64 billion
Last up on this list of environment-conscious cryptos to buy is Lumens.
Stellar is an open blockchain network designed to bridge traditional financial institutions and digital currencies. Essentially, it functions as the Paypal (NASDAQ:PYPL) of cryptocurrency networks, connecting banks and blockchain networks for large transactions. In fact, some analysts highlight that Stellar has become an “alternative to PayPal as it enables faster, easier, and more cost-effective cross-asset and cross-border transactions.”
Stellar uses the Lumens token, also known as XLM-USD. The network points out, “Like Bitcoin and Ethereum, Stellar relies on blockchain to keep the network in sync, but the end-user experience is more like cash.” Users can convert any currency on Stellar.
This name’s consensus protocol relies on authentication of transactions executed through a set of nodes. In other words, it does not use proof-of-work or even proof-of-stake algorithms. The authentication cycle is short and rapid, meaning Stellar can keep costs low and its carbon footprint to a minimum.
Stellar resembles Ripple in many ways. Therefore, some traders argue that — if Ripple manages to cope with the SEC lawsuit successfully — XLM-USD could lose its digital luster. Others, however, point out that Stellar supports the existing financial system. Therefore, it could have massive upside potential.
YTD, XLM has returned over 279%. That said, interested investors should also keep an eye on the price of Ripple as they evaluate this crypto’s suitability for their portfolios.
On the date of publication, Tezcan Gecgil held both long and short positions in GOOG. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
Tezcan Gecgil, Ph.D., has worked in investment management for over two decades in the U.S. and U.K. In addition to formal higher education in the field, she has also completed all 3 levels of the Chartered Market Technician (CMT) examination. Her passion is for options trading based on technical analysis of fundamentally strong companies. She especially enjoys setting up weekly covered calls for income generation.