According to research by the University of Cambridge, the Bitcoin network currently consumes around 100 terawatt-hours of electricity annually, enough to run a country such as Sweden.

The second largest crypto-currency, Ethereum, suffers from similar energy problems.

Given Cardano's amazingly low energy consumption, coupled with the recent success of making the blockchain carbon neutral (see Cardano forest), would it be possible to move $BTC to the Cardano network and, if so, what would be the exact process?

Also, putting aside the interests of Bitcoin miners, what impacts would Bitcoin users experience and how could these be minimalised?

(I'm exploring these questions, and more, at https://twitter.com/cardanoclimate)

3 Answers 3


Potentially yes, but practically it doesn't make any sense.

This is a controversial question. Everyone has their own opinion on this matter.

Cardano has been using the Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism starting from its birth. In PoS network validators use staking for earning money. PoS does not consume such a monstrous computational power required to mine blocks - which is why Bitcoin and Ethereum eat so much electricity. Miners perform calculations according to the Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus mechanism. By the way, Ethereum developers are currently engaged in changing the network consensus to PoS – it'll take a lot of time.

I don't know if Bitcoin holders will be interested in the transition to PoS - I think not. Staking earnings (up to 5% per year) cannot be compared to mining earnings. After all, no one will deny that the price of Bitcoin is determined by the cost of ASIC mining equipment and the cost of consumed electricity.

  • 1
    Do you have a reference for "the price of Bitcoin is determined by the cost of ASIC mining equipment and the cost of consumed electricity"? My understanding is that the price is solely determined by the demand for a fixed supply of BTC, regardless of the underlying network, and that the $BTC could exist as a token on a different blockchain. Commented Oct 1, 2021 at 10:09
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    No link is required here, this is a common logic. When mining gold, don't you take into account the cost of equipment and wages? So in the case of bitcoin - equipment and electricity are expensive, and these are obvious expenditures.
    – Andy Jazz
    Commented Oct 1, 2021 at 10:12
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    I'd have to agree, common knowledge is that the price of BTC must always be sufficient to pay the miners who mine it, otherwise, the network will fail. Cardano has its own mechanisms to secure the network which is different to PoW and so, we will see PoS coins will not always grow as fast as BTC. Commented Oct 2, 2021 at 23:22
  • These are complicated topics. It may just be me, but I need more than claims of things being 'common logic' in order to learn. Andy - we could stop mining gold and the value would be determined by the markets. @Patrick you seem to be saying that assets on PoW blockchains will grow faster than those on PoS chains. If that is the claim, could you provide some evidence? Commented Oct 3, 2021 at 8:53
  • Hi @immutablemind! I totally agree, these are complicated topics. However, unlike the gold mining industry, when Bitcoin mining stops, the network will crash and the asset value drops to 0. This is why Bitcoin mining will always be wasteful. But Cardano, in its turn, initially positioned itself as an eco-friendly network, and the founders of Cardano are unlikely to decide to change their basic principles – I mean the integration of Bitcoin as a side-chain. That's my humble opinion...
    – Andy Jazz
    Commented Oct 3, 2021 at 9:10

This is half joke, and I'm neither an expert in BTC neither in Cardano, but the minting of BTC could be controlled in cardano by a kind of virtual Proof of work, in which miners would register asics with serial numbers by means of authorized oracles. By assign a computing power for each asic model, the virtual PoW could set the minting rates of each miner according with the computing power that they have bought, without even running such computing power.

  • Perhaps it's not that crazy. There's a long history of entities being paid to not perform certain activities that they provably otherwise could. It all comes down to financial incentives. Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 10:36

What would be the exact process?

Beware: I'm not certain this answer is correct (specifically whether an ouroboros sidechain could have $BTC as a UIA and the specifics of how the Bitcoin network would migrate across to using it).

Looking into this, Bitcoin could exist on Cardano as a sidechain with $BTC as a User Issued Asset (UIA). The nice thing about using Cardano sidechains is that transaction fees could still be in $BTC (instead of $ADA).

As to the exact process for achieving a migration, the answer lies with Ethereum's move to proof of stake and "the merge". Merging Ethereum's PoW and PoS chains Image credit: consensys.net

The transition process would require the consent of client developers and exchanges in order to accept the changes. Consent of miners does not appear to be required.

However, Ethereum only exists due to Bitcoin's inability to evolve and make substantial changes. Unless something very significant changes in the Bitcoin world, it seems extremely unlikely that Bitcoin would attempt to chart a similar course. In addition, with so much money invest in equipment, mining would undoubtedly continue on a fork (similar to Ethereum Classic) raising the question of what would really be achieved.

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