Ethiopia to build Digital IDs for students, and the bitcoin energy facts

Open-source software attracts everyone, even commercial organizations, and especially the education sector as it is free and can be customized. If such as software or app was also democratic, meaning in the hands of the users rather than central management, and allowed peer-to-peer interactions, then its value increases multi-fold. All of these features are found in blockchain technology, which adds security and unchangeable data to the list of attractions.

The latest big news comes not from China, but Ethiopia, where the government has signed what is reported to be the largest blockchain deal from a government. The project is to create a national database for teachers and students using Digital IDs. There are estimated to be 5 million students here spread across 3,500 schools.

Reports point out the outcomes: These will be digital IDs introduced now into Africa, and will form the first step into financial inclusion for the population that can’t access such services. The IDs will track the students’ progress from primary to college level and in the future as well. This is also the first time a blockchain project is a tie-up with social and developmental objectives.

The blockchain company that is part of the deal is Cardano, owned by a Switzerland-based non-profit and whose CEO is the co-founder of Ethereum, Charles Hoskinson. Cardano has adopted the environment-friendly Ouroboros protocol. Two other firms are part of the project, IOHK, and the Japanese Emurgo. To build digital identities, Atala Prism, which provides decentralized identities, will offer the technology.

Bitcoin and the energy debate

The now infamous Elon Musk tweet and the subsequent events have opened pandora’s box of debates on the energy usage of bitcoin. A few facts:

Total energy consumption per year of bitcoin: 123.77 billion kilowatt-hours (compared to 2.64 million Kwh for cash, as per a report in Cointelegraph)

Equivalent to: Total energy consumption of some entire countries like The Netherlands.








Share of mining:

China: 60% (Sichuan takes 50% of the share)
Rest of World (US, Canada, Iran, Denmark, Iceland, etc.): 40%

Type of energy: As per a report, coal isn’t the preferred fuel in China, but renewables like water and solar.

Alex de Vries, the founder of Digiconomist says that the world will need to double its energy production if bitcoin becomes the reserve currency.

Track bitcoin’s energy consumption here:

A simple analogy from Digiconomist: A 1 bitcoin worth of transaction will consume the same energy as an average US household does in 43 days.

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