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How Clean (or Dirty) Top Cryptocurrencies Are By Carbon Footprint

Some people love Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. In fact, many people have jumped ship from their prior careers to go “all in on crypto!” There are also those who either do not believe in crypto and those who also do not like cryptocurrency at all. How you feel about that is up to you and Collectors Dashboard will not try to sway you. One common complaint about cryptocurrency and other digital assets has been the sustainability and the carbon footprint for mining — and it does take a lot of electricity to mine crypto.

For those who want to own cryptocurrency and are environmentally conscious as well, a group named Cryptowisser has released its Crypto Carbon Footprint list. That list is their ranking of the top 100 crypto coins by their Carbon Footprint. Please read our Disclaimer below at the end of this publication.

At a time when oil is back over $100 and natural gas prices are through the proverbial roof, many miners will want to be even more mindful of their crypto mining activities and the carbon footprint of each coin mined and digital assets minted. The press release said:

The list gives a hopeful insight into the sustainable future of cryptocurrencies and inclinations of a progressive move to a completely sustainable crypto future.

Cryptowisser’s list uses a color scheme to show where each coin falls on the list. Dark green is “the most sustainable” (carbon negative/neutral) and brown is “the least sustainable.” Each of the 100 cryptos covered were ranked in the order of how sustainable they are (according to Cryptowisser in collaboration with a team lead by the Swedish sustainability expert Erik Florman, also founder of

According to its list, over 10% of the top 100 cryptocurrencies in the report are deemed to be “carbon neutral” or even “carbon negative.” The list further highlights that close to 40% of the top 100 cryptocurrencies are also deemed to have “a very low carbon footprint” that is described as similar transactional energy consumption to a single VISA transaction.

According to Cryptowisser’s list, only a very small amount of cryptocurrencies are deemed to have “a high carbon footprint.” That said, the list isn’t universally suggesting that all are as carbon negative/neutral as others — the two biggest cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin and Ethereum, were shown to be the least sustainable of its list without the “N/A” designations.

There are 12 cryptos that rank as Dark Green (Carbon Negative/Neutral) and the partial image below will show their ranking. Algorand ( $ALGO ) was listed first, followed by Audius Token ( $AUDIO ), Avalanche Coin ( $AVAX ), Celo Coin ( $CELO ), eGold Token ( $EGLD ), The Sandbox Token ( $SAND ), WAX Coin ( $WAXP ), Immutable X Token ( $IMX ), Solana Coin ( $SOL ), Hedera Hashgraph Coin ( $HBAR ), EOS Token ( $EOS ), and NEAR Protocol Coin ( $NEAR ). The image below has been reformatted in an effort to make the images more readable.

Collectors Dashboard then went through and looked at the 13 Top Cryptos by market capitalization in US dollars to see where each ranked on the list. We have listed each of them by market cap and by the color as well as any notes that Cryptowisser’s list included. The re-ranked list by market cap of the top 13 is still the lion share of the $1.75 trillion total crypto market cap globally. Our modified list of the 13 most valuable coins includes the spot value market cap listed by and is as follows (rounded down to closest billion increments):

  • 1) Bitcoin $BTC $744 Billion — BROWN (listed last before N/A)
  • 2) Ethereum $ETH $313 Billion — BEIGE (listed next to last)
  • 3) Tether $USDT $80 Billion — (N/A)
  • 4) BNB $BNB $63 Billion — LIGHT GREEN
  • 5) USD Coin $USDC $52 Billion — (N/A)
  • 6) XRP $XRP $34 Billion — MEDIUM GREEN
  • 7) Terra $LUNA $31 Billion — LIGHT GREEN
  • 8) Cardano $ADA $27 Billion — LIGHT GREEN
  • 9) Solana $SOL $27 Billion — DARK GREEN (#9)
  • 10) Avalanche $AVAX $20 Billion — DARK GREEN (#3)
  • 11) Binance USD $BUSD $18 Billion — (N/A)
  • 12) Polkadot $DOT $17 Billion — LIGHT GREEN
  • 13) Dogecoin $DOGE $15 Billion — LIGHT GREEN

Of the total spot $1.75 trillion in the global cryptocurrency market cap at CoinMarketCap at the time we took the snapshot, these top 13 represented about $1.45 trillion of the entire pie. That is proof that there really are the top cryptos and then “there is every other one.” This list also means that of the top 13 by market cap only Solana and Avalanche rank in the best (dark green) category of “Carbon Negative.”

One thing to point out in Cryptowisser’s list is that it ranks Bitcoin as the only “Brown” crypto of the top 100. That ranks it as having very low energy efficiency and as having a very high carbon footprint. Cryptowisser also noted that more specifically it implies that a greater than or equal to 47.5 kg C02e per transaction, or similar to the carbon footprint of a commercial plane flying for 1 to 2 hours.

Their report suggests that a VISA-transaction is equivalent to Medium Green, as it consumes approx. 0.003 kWh per transaction (0.4 grams of CO2e). Cryptowisser’s press release did include some of its additional methodology for the list:

  • The report measures each Cryptocurrency by the grams of carbon consumed per transaction. While some of the top contenders such as Celo Coin and Avalanche have virtually no consumption, Coins Like Bitcoin consume 47.5kg of C02 per transaction, which is similar to 1-2 hours flying on a commercial airplane flight.
  • Overall, the energy consumed by each coin is highly dependent on the mechanism/consensus algorithm used for its blockchain, the most common two being either Proof of Work (PoW) or Proof of Stake (PoS) and while they have similarities, they differ in how they execute a transaction, and generally Proof of Work consumes a considerable amount more.

Two additional notes within the understanding cryptocurrency carbon footprint showed:

  • The carbon footprint from using a cryptocurrency is based on the energy consumption that is generated by the process of mining/validating and running nodes of using cryptos in combination with how clean that energy is.
  • The amount of energy used for various cryptos depends on the mechanism / consensus algorithm used for a block of transactions to be added to a cryptocurrency’s digital ledger, so called blockchain, in combination with how energy efficient the equipment is that is performing the algorithms.

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PLEASE NOTE OUR DISCLAIMER — The basis for this publication was used with permission from Cryptowisser ahead of our publishing time. All formal data for scoring, ranking, research and methodology are not the responsibility of Collectors Dashboard. We will likely not publish additional follow-up data on this. We will also not be updating the market cap data and rankings as they change daily per Collectors Dashboard takes no credit nor any responsibility for any of the data used for this report, and we neither endorse nor refute their methodology, rankings and the like.