Energy Footprint of Blockchain Consensus Mechanisms Beyond Proof-of-Work [article]

Moritz Platt, Johannes Sedlmeir, Daniel Platt, Paolo Tasca, Jiahua Xu, Nikhil Vadgama, Juan Ignacio Ibañez
2021 arXiv   pre-print
Popular distributed ledger technology (DLT) systems using proof-of-work (PoW) for Sybil attack resistance have extreme energy requirements, drawing stern criticism from academia, businesses, and the media. DLT systems building on alternative consensus mechanisms, foremost proof-of-stake (PoS), aim to address this downside. In this paper, we take a first step towards comparing the energy requirements of such systems to understand whether they achieve this goal equally well. While multiple
more » ... have been undertaken that analyze the energy demands of individual Blockchains, little comparative work has been done. We approach this research question by formalizing a basic consumption model for PoS blockchains. Applying this model to six archetypal blockchains generates three main findings: First, we confirm the concerns around the energy footprint of PoW by showing that Bitcoin's energy consumption exceeds the energy consumption of all PoS-based systems analyzed by at least three orders of magnitude. Second, we illustrate that there are significant differences in energy consumption among the PoSbased systems analyzed, with permissionless systems having an overall larger energy footprint. Third, we point out that the type of hardware that validators use has a considerable impact on whether PoS blockchains' energy consumption is comparable with or considerably larger than that of centralized, non-DLT systems.
arXiv:2109.03667v5 fatcat:dhzmmvuxyvfhbmo6ww4qja5sjm