University of Twente Student Theses


Comparative study on the environmental, political, social effects and long-term sustainability of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tether and Cardano cryptocurrencies

Stamoulis, Evangelos (2021) Comparative study on the environmental, political, social effects and long-term sustainability of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tether and Cardano cryptocurrencies.

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Abstract:The focus of the research is a comparison between the old and the new ways financial transactions are conducted all around the world regarding their sustainability performance. A lot of discussions have been going on around cryptocurrencies and if they are a product of the future or simply a trend that will slowly fade away. Less is being discussed about the usefulness of blockchain technology as it is being adopted increasingly by private and public institutions. Despite the rapid technological progression on the field, the environmental concerns regarding are on the rise with the scientific world turn their attention towards the long-term impacts. This thesis primarily aims at contributing to this field by comparing four of the largest cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cardano, Tether) in terms of environmental social and political effects and explain their underlying technology. A secondary goal is to provide people with little to no knowledge of blockchain technology with a basic understanding and the core concepts and increase awareness of their effects. The background of the blockchain and each of the cryptocurrency under examination is discussed and the results are complemented and validated through interviews with semi-structured questionnaires. Discussion with experts on the field is crucial in understanding some of the most complex terms in relation to their overall effects. The final comparison is completed by applying a holistic approach and examining the political, economic, social, technological and environmental situation. It was concluded that the environmental impact of a cryptocurrency is directly connected with the underlying mechanisms of each cryptocurrency and can vary significantly. Additionally, all the cryptocurrencies under examination are potentially sustainable as products from a newly created market and from a sociopolitical and technological standpoint but when it comes to their environmental impact concerns are raised for Bitcoin and Ethereum. This research adds to the existing literature by comparing four cryptocurrencies with a more holistic approach and connect the social and political effects with the environmental and determine if the four different approaches to blockchain technology can be sustainable.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:43 environmental science
Programme:Environmental and Energy Management MSc (69319)
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