The Tron network’s annual electricity consumption is equivalent to that of just 15 U.S. households, according to a report prepared by the Crypto Carbon Ratings Institute.
The commissioned report produced on behalf of the Tron network found that as of July 2022, Tron’s annual electricity consumption stands at 162,868 kWh.
Per the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average annual electricity consumption of a U.S. household was 10,715 kWh in 2020, meaning that the Tron network uses just over 15 U.S. households’ worth of energy each year.
Bitcoin’s energy consumption currently stands at 94.47 TWh, per the most recent figures from the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index—meaning that Tron uses less than 0.001% of the energy consumed by the proof-of-work Bitcoin network.
According to the CCRI study, the annual energy consumption of a single node on the Tron network averages out at 443.78 kWh, with a lower bound of 147.17 kWh and an upper bound of 1,081.86 kWh.
The CCRI notes that this figure is a “best guess that captures the consumption of the average node best for the network,” based on the variety of hardware setups used by validators and full nodes on the Tron network.
The report also found that Tron’s yearly carbon footprint, based on the average carbon intensity of the countries in which Tron nodes are located, amounts to 69.47 tCO2e. That’s equivalent to roughly eleven business class flights from Munich to San Francisco and back again.
According to CCRI’s analysis, Tron’s carbon footprint is roughly three times lower than that of proof-of-stake networks Avalanche and Algorand, four times lower than that of Cardano and 13 times lower than that of Solana. CCRI notes that a direct comparison between Tron and these networks is, however, limited by the earlier time points of their analyses, conducted in August to October 2021.
Tron’s Delegated Proof of Stake model
Unlike the energy-intensive proof-of-work consensus mechanism used by Bitcoin and (for the time being) Ethereum, Tron uses a delegated proof-of-stake (DPoS) mechanism to achieve consensus.
Proof-of-work networks such as Bitcoin are maintained by miners, who compete to perform computationally-taxing puzzles in order to win the right to add a block to the blockchain.
That has led to a computer hardware arms race among miners, who initially used computer processing units (CPU) to mine Bitcoin, before moving on to more powerful graphics processing units (GPUs) and finally dedicated ASIC miners. Each generation of more powerful mining hardware, of course, uses more electricity.
Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto saw the network’s energy use as an acceptable cost, given that, “The utility of the exchanges made possible by Bitcoin will far exceed the cost of electricity used.”
But networks such as Tron dispute that notion, opting instead for the much less energy-intensive proof-of-stake consensus mechanism. In proof-of-stake networks, validator nodes lock up cryptocurrency for the right to verify transactions in a block, and secure the associated fees. According to a 2021 study by University College London, proof-of-stake networks use several orders of magnitude less energy than proof-of-work networks such as Bitcoin.
What's a Super Representative? How to buy TRX? Why is TRON based on DPOS? Check our FAQ and get an answer! (Lunar landings not covered) https://t.co/CVptfnIt6n
— TRON DAO (@trondao) May 17, 2018
Tron’s DPoS consensus mechanism evolves the proof-of-stake model. Holders of its native coin TRX stake their cryptocurrency to elect 27 “super representatives,” nodes whose job is to validate transactions and create new blocks. By delegating their TRX to a super representative, holders receive a share of the 32 TRX rewards generated by that node for validating a block. The network’s kept secure as the voting process is ongoing; bad actors can have their super representative status stripped from them.
As well as keeping the Tron network’s energy use and carbon footprint to a minimum, Tron also claims that its DPoS consensus mechanism allows for fast transaction speeds, a fully decentralized network, and promotes high levels of community engagement through its voting process.
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