A new report on blockchain power consumption has calculated that EOS uses very little energy compared to Bitcoin and Ethereum. The calculation was performed by GenerEOS, an EOS block producer candidate which took energy statistics from Digiconomist and calculated its own EOS data.
GenerEOS reports that Bitcoin, which is widely known to have an extremely demanding proof-of-work (PoW) mining algorithm, consumes 73.1 TWh of power annually — “the same amount of electricity as the nation of Argentina,” according to the article. Whether Bitcoin’s power use will continue to rise is uncertain, but its consumption has increased over the past year.
Meanwhile, Ethereum consumes about 18.96 TWh of energy per year, about a quarter of what Bitcoin consumes. Ethereum is mined through PoW, just like Bitcoin is, but consumes less energy to confirm each transaction. Ethereum’s Casper update, which will introduce a proof-of-stake mechanism, will render mining obsolete and drop Ethereum’s power consumption even further.
EOS, by comparison, only uses 0.0011 TWh of energy per year — about 66,500 times less than Bitcoin. GenerEOS cites Graphene, which is the delegated proof-of-stake (DPoS) implementation that underlies EOS, as the reason for EOS’s low energy consumption.
DPoS does not rely on miners to add new blocks to the blockchain. Instead, a limited number of elected block producers are responsible for confirming blocks. This eliminates the mining “arms race,” in which miners must use increasingly powerful and energy-demanding hardware in order to profit. As MyCryptoPedia explains:
“With DPoS, witnesses are given a specific time schedule to do so. Therefore, the intense competition for the addition of the next block becomes impractical, which in turn reduces the energy costs for adding a single block when compared to PoW.”
GenerEOS’s report only considers three blockchains, but countless others exist. A study from November 2017 cites Ripple as the ultimate example of a low-energy blockchain: Standford and Stockholm University found that Ripple consumed only 0.0005361 TWh annually, about half of EOS’s attested yearly consumption.
Since there is no universal way to calculate power consumption, and because usage can change over time, finding the blockchain with the lowest energy consumption is probably impossible.
It is certain, though, that blockchains that do not rely on mining generally use far less energy than those that do, a fact that has major implications for environmental policy.
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