There are multiple reasons why the energy consumption makes sense, since it prevents certain network attacks, like following:

  • You really have to invest much in hardware & energy to mine blocks – and unlike with POS coins, it's therefore not possible, to f.e. arrange with other big POS-validators and just say that a specific old/alternative chain is the valid one – since the energy is already burned.

  • unlike POS, you have a big investement in hardware, so if you attack your own network, your own hardware investment gets hurt. With POW there is no nothing-at-stakes-problem.

  • POS leads to centralization due to staking (f.e. on exchanges), this is not possible with Bitcoin, so the power distribution is much more equal with bitcoin – and much less controlable for states or big companies (f.e. if all big POS validators belong to the G20 countries – they could easily implement specific financial regulations to force these validators to follow specific rules).

There are also more reasons to go with POW instead of POS (see here – long range attacks, short range attacks , stake grinding attacks) but I really wonder why no one talks about these points and only counters with "ah, around 74% of the miners use renewable energy sources". I this these security measures are pretty important.

See also these links for more infos:

Proof of Work vs Proof of Stake:

submitted by /u/BitcoinReminder_com

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