Uber and WWF Show That ‘Environmental Concerns’ Hamper Crypto Adoption

By Jody McDonald February 15, 2022 In Bitcoin, Crypto News, Ethereum, NFTs, Polygon

Recent statements by the ride-sharing and delivery app Uber and wildlife conservation organisation World Wildlife Fund (WWF) have further highlighted the environmental hurdles crypto faces to achieve widespread mainstream adoption.

Speaking to Bloomberg last week, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi was clear the company would  accept Bitcoin and other cryptos as payment at some stage, but that now was not the time:

Is Uber going to accept crypto in the future? Absolutely, at some point.

Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber CEO

Khosrowshahi said that as it currently stands, Bitcoin is too expensive to use and too energy-intensive to justify Uber adopting it for payments. “As the exchange mechanism becomes less expensive, becomes more environmentally friendly, I think you will see us lean into crypto a little bit more,” he explained.


WWF NFTs Stymied by Backlash

WWF has also shown it’s enthusiastic about using crypto, but is being held back by environmental concerns. 

WWF recently started selling NFTs minted on the proof-of-stake Polygon network. The organisation claimed to have chosen to use the Polygon network due to its low carbon emissions compared to proof-of-work blockchains such as Ethereum, tweeting that each of its NFTs would generate the same carbon emissions as a glass of tap water. Sounds great so far. 

However, WWF has since stopped sales of its NFTs due to widespread backlash after it was pointed out by Alex de Vries of Digiconomist that because Polygon relies on several Ethereum-based smart contracts to function, its actual energy use is significantly higher than WWF initially stated – roughly 2,100 times higher.

Crypto’s Low Energy Future 

Is it all bad news as far as crypto and the environment go? When heavyweight crypto influencers like Elon Musk and Michael Saylor can’t agree on this question, you could be forgiven for thinking there’s genuine cause for concern. 

However, given statements such as those from Uber and the work being done by both Bitcoin and Ethereum to bring about a lower energy future – not to mention the existence of extremely efficient, carbon-negative alternative layer 1s such as Hedera Hashgraph and Algorand – it looks like the industry as a whole may well overcome the issue of energy use.

Jody McDonald

Jody McDonald

Jody is a Brisbane-based freelance writer who specialises in writing about business, technology, and the future of work.

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