A study on the environmental impact of blockchain networks was focused on calculating the exact amount of carbon dioxide emitted during the operation of the largest projects. 

Researchers Determine Most Environmentally Friendly Blockchain Network

Polkadot was found to be the most eco-friendly blockchain network. The project’s operation generates 33.3 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) each year. Bloomberg reports these data with reference to research by Crypto Carbon Ratings Institute. 

Tezos blockchain came in second place in terms of sustainability, with an annual carbon footprint of approximately 53.7 tCO2e. Blockchain networks Cardano, Avalanche and Algorand have values in the range of 230 to 280 tCO2e. The Solana blockchain generates 934.7 tCO2e per year. 

The researchers also noted other interesting ratios: 

  • Cardano has the lowest energy consumption per node in the network;
  • Solana uses the least amount of energy per transaction.

The analysts noted that the sustainability score largely depends on the level of activity within the network. Of all the blockchains cited, Polkadot had the lowest number of transactions (4 million) and Solana had the highest (12 billion). 

Among other findings, the researchers confirmed the view that the most environmentally friendly type of consensus algorithm is Proof of Stake. Blockchains based on Proof of Stake, on the other hand, lag behind other networks in terms of decentralization, network throughput, and smart contract functionality.

Author: Mark Wallerstein