Lasers Can Cut Bitcoin Mining’s Energy Costs?
Bitcoin’s use of energy has long been a very big issue. Some developers says that the solution could lie in a more energy-efficient form of computer processing that uses lasers.
The discussion should focus on emissions, when we consider Bitcoin’s energy use. In the past years, Industry participants have worked toward improving transparency in that category. If we look even further back, Hal Finney – who got the first bitcoin transaction ever from its creator, Satoshi Nakamoto – said he was “thinking about how to bring down CO2 emissions from a widespread Bitcoin execution” in 2009.
Most arguments about improving Bitcoin’s emissions problem rolls around:
⦁ Completely banning it.
⦁ Cleaning up its energy mix.
⦁ Switching from proof-of-work (PoW) to a consensus mechanism that doesn’t need a heavy use of electricity to work.
What is optical proof-of-work?
In short, oPoW would change the proof-of-work algorithm used by Bitcoin now to one dubbed “HeavyHash” that is most productively computed using a photonic processors of new generation. The reason behind oPoW is to “decouple Bitcoin mining from energy and make it workable outside of regions with minimum electricity costs.” This shift, proponents argue, would improve geographic distribution of computing power, decrease barriers to entry for new miners and put to an end to any fears of climate-related pushback as Bitcoin multiplies and grows in popularity, since the switch would reduce Bitcoin’s energy demand.
Why optical proof-of-work might work
There are many advantages of Bitcoin’s energy-intensive construction, namely robustness and anti-fragility. Just because proof-of-work has worked good throughout Bitcoin’s history doesn’t mean that other ideas should be dismissed on sight. Bitcoin is a technology and it changes with time.
First and foremost, lasers have ensured in making computation more efficient. Photons enable a higher bandwidth than electrons when used in computers, which is why fiber internet is faster than normal internet. While some disagree about the feasibility of laser-based computers replacing semiconductor-based ones outright, optical computation could improve performance.
It makes a lot of sense from a business perspective. Instead of having equal capital expenditure and operating expenses in running a bitcoin mining, the cost shifts toward upfront investment. As a result, oPoW Bitcoin hardware would be marked more expensive than current machines. That investment could be more easily financed, as lenders would have expensive tools to secure against, and the cost of operations would be predictable because miners would be less sensitive to changes in energy availability and pricing. As such, cash flow pressures would be further eased as pricier equipment allows companies to run additional depreciation expense through their financial statements which is an accounting trick that has real financial consequences.
Additionally, if the technology worked, then it will make energy a less important piece of Bitcoin’s formation. In spite of the genuine benefits of an energy-intensive blockchain, a shift away from energy consumption would definiately ease political pressures, especially in the United States and the European Union, where a regulator has called for a ban on proof-of-work crypto mining and the parliament seriously considered such strict measures. In this case, politicians and regulators can be capable of understanding Bitcoin if one of their major points of disputes were to fall away.