Would you be willing to donate your web browsers surplus resources to power a consensus algorithm for blockchain technologies?
Millions of users are currently opted-in to such systems and are providing the processing power which could lead to a more energy efficient cryptocurrency.
Browsing the web does not use a lot of resources for the most part. With the exception of video content and high demand applications it’s very rare that your average web browser is using their device to its full extent. CPU processing power is constant meaning that if it isn’t utilized in full then it goes to waste leading to huge amounts of surplus resources collaboratively being wasted each day as we spend time online.
There is a risk that a botnet could be used to attack such a system with reports of single botnets controlling over a quarter of a million devices. A solution to this would be to provide an opt-in only system which prevents bots from participating in the network. One browser based blockchain project, JSEcoin, has collected over 20 million opt-in browser miners with around 25,000 connected to the network at any one time. Given enough time and traction this could lead to enough volume to make the 51% attack impossible while creating an energy efficient blockchain solution.
“Browser mining, when done ethically using an opt-in only system, can provide a real alternative for webmasters who don’t want to display ads. Visitors can contribute to a websites cost of content by providing small amounts of surplus processing power while on the site”
James Bachini CEO of JSEcoin
Greener technologies are being developed across all industries and the blockchain sector will eventually need to follow suit. Proof of stake algorithms such as the Casper update for Ethereum could bring the environmental cost down but for Bitcoin it seems unlikely that anything similar would gain approval due to the control that the miners have over the network. It simply wouldn’t be in their best interest to vote for a system that made their mining hardware obsolete.
There are only a small number of projects currently developing browser based blockchains. JSEcoin mentioned above has had a live platform since August 2017 and is launching an ICO in July. Nimiq has recently issued a new token (NIM) to replace their (NET) ERC20 token. Monero (XMR) is often mined in web browsers by hidden background web based scripts such as Coinhive.