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加密货币如何解决自身最大的问题之一

加密货币如何解决自身最大的问题之一

Aaron Grunfeld, Brennan Spellacy 2021年03月29日
如今,人们已经愈发关注到加密货币所消耗的环境成本,而近期比尔·盖茨的评论则进一步增加了这场讨论的热度。

包括比特币在内的加密货币产业存在能源问题——节能减排、碳中和问题亟待关注。图片来源:ANDREY RUDAKOV—BLOOMBERG/GETTY IMAGES

今年3月初,比尔·盖茨告诉《纽约时报》(New York Times):“在每笔比特币交易中消耗的电力,比人类已知的任何其他方式都要多。”人们已经愈发关注到加密货币所消耗的环境成本,而他的评论进一步增加了这场讨论的热度。加密货币技术需要花费大量的能源来“挖矿”和处理——仅比特币就占了全球电力消耗总量的0.5%。

在盖茨发表上述言论的两天后,佳士得拍卖行(Christie's)宣布以近7000万美元的价格成交了一幅数字艺术作品。这种形式的艺术品通常被称为非同质化代币(NFT),仅存在于区块链中,并且在过去两年中迅速普及。法国一位环保主义者雕塑家震惊地得知,通过这种形式出售他的一个作品所消耗的能源,足够他的工作室在一般情况下使用两年。

用什么样的方式来定义和衡量加密货币的碳足迹才是最准确的?在这一点上人们仍然存在一些分歧。但显而易见的是,加密货币的去中心化原则要求每笔交易都记录在区块链上,并分发给成千上万的计算机处理,导致每笔交易都要消耗大量能源。并非所有的加密货币都像比特币(Bitcoin)那样耗能,但是每种都有自己独特的碳足迹,并且都在不同程度上加剧了气候危机。

要解决加密货币引发的环境问题,我们需要寻找一种方式,使它们能够与世界和谐共处——这其中的首要任务就应该是缓解气候变化。

但也已有迹象表明,在加密货币行业的推动下,或许我们的环境反而可以越来越好。随着时间的推移,加密货币挖矿能够加快人们从化石燃料向可再生能源过渡的进程,因为矿工会本能地青睐成本更低的可再生能源,并主动减轻其供能压力。

如果加密货币行业在减排方面也可以居于领先,就能够将自己“碳排放大户”的狼藉名声摇身一变为“具有社会责任感的碳中和行业”。现在,各公司都可以轻松买到一系列脱碳产品,或通过一些接口将有害的废气排到这些脱碳产品中。

去年7月的一项研究发现,79%的消费者购物偏好正在发生变化,他们更关注商家的社会和环保责任。《哈佛商业评论》(Harvard Business Review)也在2019年就发现,“可持续产品”正受到热捧,其市场规模和那些不具可持续性产品的相比,增长了5.6倍。因而如果加密货币能够更有“环保责任感”,该行业就有机会扩大其用户基础。

而如果不采取行动,就可能会招致监管机构的禁令。目前,与加密货币类似的一些“碳排放大户”行业都受到了政府强制脱碳法规的约束。荷兰经济学家亚历克斯·德弗里斯是正在对比特币和其他货币的碳足迹进行量化研究的学者之一,他建议,世界各地的政策制定者都可以效仿魁北克等地,禁止新币开采。而如果不出台此类规定,要解决碳排放问题,很可能就得仰赖于该行业内部自觉自愿地采取行动。

为了让加密货币行业节能减排,人们已经开始行动,但与此同时,减少碳排放仍然应该成为当务之急。如今,人们能够采取各种各样的措施来解决这一问题,从还林还草、植树造林计划,到直接的空气捕获等一系列封存方法。加密货币行业的领导者也应该在这些技术上投资。

目前,人们希望各行各业的领军者在制定自己的商业计划时,都可以将气候变化问题提上日程。加密货币行业也不例外,因此,我们希望它不会一再拖延自己做出的“碳中和”承诺。(财富中文网)

阿龙·格林费尔德和布伦南·斯佩拉西是Patch公司的联合创始人。

编译:陈聪聪

今年3月初,比尔·盖茨告诉《纽约时报》(New York Times):“在每笔比特币交易中消耗的电力,比人类已知的任何其他方式都要多。”人们已经愈发关注到加密货币所消耗的环境成本,而他的评论进一步增加了这场讨论的热度。加密货币技术需要花费大量的能源来“挖矿”和处理——仅比特币就占了全球电力消耗总量的0.5%。

在盖茨发表上述言论的两天后,佳士得拍卖行(Christie's)宣布以近7000万美元的价格成交了一幅数字艺术作品。这种形式的艺术品通常被称为非同质化代币(NFT),仅存在于区块链中,并且在过去两年中迅速普及。法国一位环保主义者雕塑家震惊地得知,通过这种形式出售他的一个作品所消耗的能源,足够他的工作室在一般情况下使用两年。

用什么样的方式来定义和衡量加密货币的碳足迹才是最准确的?在这一点上人们仍然存在一些分歧。但显而易见的是,加密货币的去中心化原则要求每笔交易都记录在区块链上,并分发给成千上万的计算机处理,导致每笔交易都要消耗大量能源。并非所有的加密货币都像比特币(Bitcoin)那样耗能,但是每种都有自己独特的碳足迹,并且都在不同程度上加剧了气候危机。

要解决加密货币引发的环境问题,我们需要寻找一种方式,使它们能够与世界和谐共处——这其中的首要任务就应该是缓解气候变化。

但也已有迹象表明,在加密货币行业的推动下,或许我们的环境反而可以越来越好。随着时间的推移,加密货币挖矿能够加快人们从化石燃料向可再生能源过渡的进程,因为矿工会本能地青睐成本更低的可再生能源,并主动减轻其供能压力。

如果加密货币行业在减排方面也可以居于领先,就能够将自己“碳排放大户”的狼藉名声摇身一变为“具有社会责任感的碳中和行业”。现在,各公司都可以轻松买到一系列脱碳产品,或通过一些接口将有害的废气排到这些脱碳产品中。

去年7月的一项研究发现,79%的消费者购物偏好正在发生变化,他们更关注商家的社会和环保责任。《哈佛商业评论》(Harvard Business Review)也在2019年就发现,“可持续产品”正受到热捧,其市场规模和那些不具可持续性产品的相比,增长了5.6倍。因而如果加密货币能够更有“环保责任感”,该行业就有机会扩大其用户基础。

而如果不采取行动,就可能会招致监管机构的禁令。目前,与加密货币类似的一些“碳排放大户”行业都受到了政府强制脱碳法规的约束。荷兰经济学家亚历克斯·德弗里斯是正在对比特币和其他货币的碳足迹进行量化研究的学者之一,他建议,世界各地的政策制定者都可以效仿魁北克等地,禁止新币开采。而如果不出台此类规定,要解决碳排放问题,很可能就得仰赖于该行业内部自觉自愿地采取行动。

为了让加密货币行业节能减排,人们已经开始行动,但与此同时,减少碳排放仍然应该成为当务之急。如今,人们能够采取各种各样的措施来解决这一问题,从还林还草、植树造林计划,到直接的空气捕获等一系列封存方法。加密货币行业的领导者也应该在这些技术上投资。

目前,人们希望各行各业的领军者在制定自己的商业计划时,都可以将气候变化问题提上日程。加密货币行业也不例外,因此,我们希望它不会一再拖延自己做出的“碳中和”承诺。(财富中文网)

阿龙·格林费尔德和布伦南·斯佩拉西是Patch公司的联合创始人。

编译:陈聪聪

In early March, Bill Gates told the New York Times, “Bitcoin uses more electricity per transaction than any other method known to mankind.” His comments added to a growing conversation around the environmental cost of cryptocurrency, a technology that requires significant energy to mine and process. Bitcoin alone accounts for 0.5% of total global electricity consumption.

Two days after Gates' remarks, Christie's auction house announced the sale of a digital piece of art for nearly $70 million. Often called non-fungible tokens (NFT), such artwork exists only within the blockchain and has rapidly grown in popularity over the past two years. One French sculptor, who is also an environmentalist, was horrified to learn that the sale of one of his projects had consumed as much energy as his studio normally used over the span of two years.

There is some disagreement over the most accurate way to define and measure the carbon footprint of cryptocurrencies. What is clear is that the decentralized nature of crypto requires each transaction to be logged on the blockchain and distributed to and processed by tens of thousands of computers—resulting in significant energy use for every transaction. Not all cryptocurrencies are as energy-consumptive as Bitcoin, but each has its own unique carbon footprint, and they all contribute to the climate crisis to varying degrees.

To answer the crypto environmental problem, we need to look at ways to make crypto fit better into a world whose number one priority should be mitigating climate change. (As a company that helps businesses embed carbon removal into their products, Patch stands to benefit from the advice offered in this article.)

There are already signs that the crypto industry could pivot to be a driver of positive environmental change. Crypto mining can, over time, accelerate a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, as miners will naturally seek out lower-cost renewable energy sources and provide an avenue for renewable projects to offload supply.

If the industry takes the lead in the carbon removal field as well, it can alter its reputation from being an embattled major emitter to a responsible, carbon-neutral space. Businesses can now easily purchase carbon removal from a broad set of projects or use an API to embed negative emissions into their products.

A July study found 79% of consumers are changing their purchasing preferences to align with a company’s social and environmental responsibility. Meanwhile, the Harvard Business Review found in 2019 that products touted as sustainable can grow market size 5.6 times faster than those that are not. By making crypto more environmentally responsible, the industry has an opportunity to grow its user base.

Opting not to take decisive action could also invite categorical bans by regulators. Industries that compare with crypto on the emissions front are currently subject to government regulations mandating decarbonization. Dutch economist Alex De Vries, one of the scholars involved in recent efforts to quantify the carbon footprint of Bitcoin and other currencies, has already suggested that policymakers around the world could follow regions like Quebec, which has enacted a moratorium on new currency mining. Avoiding such regulations will likely hinge on voluntary action to address emissions.

Efforts to make crypto less energy-intensive are already underway, but in the meantime, carbon removal should be an urgent priority. A broad range of initiatives, from reforestation programs to direct air capture and other sequestration methods, are available today. Crypto leaders should invest in these technologies.

Major players in all industries nowadays are expected to incorporate climate change into their business plans. Crypto is no different—so let’s hope there’s no further delay in its commitment to carbon neutrality.

Aaron Grunfeld and Brennan Spellacy are cofounders of Patch.

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