There’s more than just one blockchain out there. The world’s most powerful blockchain and the one that Fractis operates on have quite a few differences. Let’s take a look at Solana vs Ethereum, and whether NFTs can really be eco-friendly.
Largest, most powerful, most well known. These are usually all desirable qualities that would sway you when making a decision between two things. Why wouldn’t you be drawn in by those hyperboles? This is something you have to ask yourself when considering Solana vs Ethereum.
When it comes to smartphones, everyone wants the biggest memory, the most camera lenses, the largest super retina display. Rarely do we think about the environmental impacts that buying into these new pieces of hardware come with.
Any time someone mentions crypto and the blockchain, environmental impact is one of the first concerns that springs to our minds. Quite rightly so. There’s no point having any shiny new technology if there’s no planet to enjoy it on.
The Fractis marketplace is built on the blockchain, allowing for the fast and highly secure buying and selling of music NFTs. But, we don’t want to care about music investment to the detriment of our only home. That’s why we’ve consciously built Fractis on the blockchain with the least environmental impact.
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Anything new is met with caution and trepidation – particularly in the case of technology. It’s only natural to raise concerned questions around a significant new thing that you may not fully understand.
We’ve all heard the unsettling statistics on how much energy is required to mine Bitcoin. In fact, the world’s largest cryptocurrency consumes around 140 terrawatt hours per year. To put that into perspective, that’s more than the whole country of Argentina.
The computational power required to solve complex cryptographic puzzles and mine cryptocurrency is astounding. Warehouses of servers work relentlessly to prop up this decentralised financial machine. In a world where electric vehicles are championed, and cycling to work is lauded almost as much as ditching meat, why would anyone with an environmental conscious go near crypto?
What if I told you some blockchains work differently? Actually, I’m sure you knew that already, but, did you know just how differently?
Choosing the Right Blockchain
A blockchain is a digital ledger of transactions. The thing that makes a blockchain function is a consensus mechanism. This is the process that adds new data (or blocks) to the ledger. A consensus mechanism verifies and validates data between a network of computers.
The consensus mechanism is a huge part of what makes one blockchain different from another. You may have come across the terms Proof of Work (PoW) and Proof of Stake (PoS) before.
To put it very simply, Proof of Work is the consensus mechanism that relies on huge servers constantly solving puzzles and mining crypto in order for the transactions to be executed. This is the energy hungry consensus mechanism that causes a lot of concern. Whereas Proof of Stake relies on validators simply holding and staking tokens – no mining involved.
Ethereum and Solana are blockchains that use these consensus mechanisms, respectively. Let’s break down the differences between these two blockchains further.
Solana vs Ethereum
In the blockchain world, users are concerned namely with three things: security, scalability, and decentralisation. Speed and transaction fees (aka gas fees) are also high on the list of considerations. It’s time to take a look at how Solana and Ethereum fair in these aspects!
We’ve already discussed how Ethereum is built off of the PoW protocol, and Solana the PoS. The Proof of Work mechanism is hungry in regards to computational energy, as well as slower in terms of transaction speed. Solana uses a unique hybrid of Proof of Stake and Proof of History.
The different mechanisms used result in different processing speeds. Ethereum’s current PoW method results in 30 transactions per second. Solana can manage 50,000-65,000 TPS. The block time for Ethereum is around 15 seconds, whereas Solana’s is just 1 second.
A big factor in deciding which blockchain to go with is the transaction fees, aka gas fees. This fluctuates in relation to network congestion: the more congestion, the higher the gas. A fee is charged for transactions, and this depends on the transaction time, plus how many transactions a block can hold.
Solana is capable of processing transactions in around a second, and can hold 20,000 transactions in a block. This is in contrast to Ethereum’s block time of around 15 seconds and 70 transactions per block.
Fees vary, but Solana’s gas fees can be as low as $0.00025 per transaction, versus Ethereum’s £3-10.
Ethereum wins on transparency. This is because Ethereum has been around longer – since 2014 – and so has a larger network of developers. Solana started in 2020, and has a smaller network of developers, so fails to deliver on transparency around them quite as much in comparison.
Also referred to as “market capitalization”, Ethereum trumps Solana here too. Ethereum has the second largest market cap of all cryptocurrencies, with Solana far behind. This is largely due to Solana’s relative newness, meaning it could take some time to reach Ethereum’s level of market cap.
Solana’s Environmental Footprint
It can be difficult to really conceptualise all of this data and information, and understand the actual environmental impact of a blockchain.
You can read a full report on Solana’s energy usage as of March 2022. Drawing from cleaner energy sources helps keep Solana’s environmental footprint lower. Even as the company grows, its carbon intensity continues to fall. Specifically, it fell to 198 g CO2 per kWh, from 201g CO2 per kWh in December 2021.
In everyday terms, to help put things into perspective, one transaction on Solana requires less power than two Google searches.
Comparing Solana’s energy usage with Ethereum’s is interesting too. The Solana network only uses around 3,186,000 kWh per year, which equates to around 986 households’ electricity usage.
Solana vows to take even more steps in the future to promote and produce an environmentally conscious blockchain and green crypto.