#1. SolarCoin (SLR)
SolarCoin is global, decentralized, and independent of any government. You can spend and trade SolarCoin just like other cryptocurrencies, but the key difference is that the platform aims to incentivize real-world environmental activity: verifiably produced solar energy.
How it works
SolarCoin has a novel approach to cryptocurrency, creating 1 Solarcoin for every Megawatt hour generated from solar technology. Currently, this network mostly relies on users uploading documentation to prove energy generation, but the Internet of Things may one day streamline this process with automatic updates from solar arrays.
Consider SolarCoin as a helpful way to more quickly offset the cost of installing a solar array!
#2. BitGreen (BITG)
BitGreen was founded in late 2017 as a response to the environmental impact of Bitcoin. It is a community-driven initiative and energy-efficient alternative to Proof of Work consensus cryptocurrencies. The company created a non-profit foundation to oversee the maintenance of the BitGreen project.
BitGreen is intended to incentivize eco-friendly actions, with users able to earn BITG by, for example, carpooling on a ride-hailing app, buying sustainable coffee, and volunteering. You can also earn BITG by ‘staking’, using a desktop wallet or building a masternode.
How it works
BitGreen uses a low-energy Proof of Stake algorithm with segwit and deterministic masternodes as part of their proprietary protocol
BitGreen can be spent on goods and services through BitGreen’s partners or traded on ProBit Exchange, Mercatox, STEX, and Crex24 exchanges.
#3. Cardano (ADA)
Cardano was developed by the co-founder of Ethereum, Charles Hoskinson, and was tested by academics and scientists as the world’s first peer-reviewed blockchain. It functions mainly as a digital currency but can also be used for digital contracts, DApps, and other purposes. Compared to Bitcoin’s 7 transactions a second, Cardano can achieve 1000 per second.
How it works
Cardano is inherently more energy efficient than Bitcoin as it uses a ‘Proof of Stake’ consensus mechanism where those participating in the currency buy tokens to join the network. This helps save a staggering amount of energy, with the founder of Cardano claiming that the cryptocurrency network consumes only 6 GWh of power.
Cardano is similar in some ways to Ethereum, but without a lot of the bloat associated with the latter token. This enables Cardano to scale up to meet increased demands for the cryptocurrency, without compromising on speed or efficiency.
#4. Stellar (XLM)
The Stellar network was released in 2014 (forking off from Ripple) with the goal of bridging the gap between traditional financial institutions and digital currencies. Stellar doesn’t charge institutions or individuals for using the network and is increasingly seen as a serious alternative to PayPal as it enables faster, easier, and more cost-effective cross-asset and cross-border transactions.
Stellar is operated by the Stellar Development Foundation, a non-profit organization. It got its start with funding from Stripe (the payments startup), along with donations from BlackRock, Google, and FastForward. Tax-deductible public donations fund the network’s operating costs and the hard market cap for Lumens and removal of an inflation standard demonstrates that the SDF is looking to maintain a network that enables easy, accessible, low-cost cross-border payments rather than to make a quick buck with massive gains in the price of Lumen.
The network has also attracted serious engagement from IBM and Deloitte, as well as banking institutions in Nigeria, the Philippines, India, France, the South Pacific, and most recently the Ukraine. This brings to life the SDF’s vision to “unlock the world’s economic potential by making money more fluid, markets more open, and people more empowered.” Stellar was the first distributed technology ledger to receive certification as Shariah compliant.
How it works
Through the Stellar network, you can exchange US Dollars, Bitcoin, Pesos, Yen, and pretty much any currency traditional or crypto. The network’s token, Lumens, are used to facilitate these trades on the blockchain-based distributed ledger at a fraction of a cent and with great efficiency (which also translates to a lower carbon footprint). The network also allows individuals and institutions to create tokens for use on the network, which has inspired some to use the network for sustainability initiatives such as investing in renewable energy.
The key distinguishing feature of the Stellar network is its consensus protocol. This SCP is open-source and relies on authentication of transactions occurring through a set of trustworthy nodes rather than running through the whole network as a proof-of-work or even proof-of-stake algorithm. The cycle for authentication is thus much shorter and faster, keeping costs low and energy use to a minimum. The algorithm behind this is known as a federated byzantine agreement and is an energy-efficient alternative to the Bitcoin style traditional mining network.
Stellar’s token, Lumens (XLM), can be bought and sold on most exchanges, including Binance, Coinbase, Kraken, Bittrex, Bitfinex, Upbit and Huobi.
#5. Ripple (XRP)
Ripple has been around since 2012 as a private platform that constitutes a voting system reliant on validators worldwide. XRP is not a currency in itself. Instead, it is a pre-mined token used to bridge asset transfers, with the network able to manage more than 1500 transactions per second.
How it works
Ripple uses the Ripple Protocol Consensus Algorithm (RPCA), which means that at least 80% of the network’s global validators have to approve a transaction before it gets added to the XRP ledger. The result is a secure, efficient network that allows users to move money around currencies with relative ease, little expense, and great speed (around 3-5 seconds per transaction!).