Ripple CTO David Schwartz believes PoW (proof of work), the consensus mechanism that underlies the Bitcoin network and similar networks, will not go away.
I don't think PoW will go away. I think its popularity will drop, but there may be room for at least one PoW chain for a long time. I hope bitcoin isn't the token filling that particular niche though.— David "JoelKatz" Schwartz (@JoelKatz) December 24, 2022
The Ripple executive was responding to a Twitter user who had asked for his thoughts on whether Bitcoin mining would still exist past 2030 as governments push toward a sustainable green future.
He rather believes that the popularity of the PoW consensus mechanism might wane over time. Schwartz predicts that despite this, one PoW chain would stand the test of time, however, he is not sure if it would be Bitcoin.
The high energy consumption of the Bitcoin network has been a widely discussed topic, with Tesla CEO Elon Musk criticizing Bitcoin's energy use and environmental impact.
Environmental and proof-of-stake supporters have increased their lobbying efforts this year to change Bitcoin's mining consensus code. The sentiment seems to have been fueled by Ethereum's change from proof of work to proof of stake, which slashed its energy usage by 99.95%.
However, as it stands, though uncertain in the future, it is highly unlikely that Bitcoin will switch to proof of stake. PoW supporters argue that PoS staking introduces centralization and security risks by allowing malevolent actors to directly "buy" network control. They also point out that PoS has proven to be resilient as the foundation of the world's largest blockchain.
However, the Bitcoin mining industry has been fraught with difficulties.
Bitcoin miner Core Scientific, one of the largest BTC miners by computing power, has reportedly filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Texas due to dwindling revenue and falling Bitcoin prices.
According to Schwartz, the Bitcoin mining industry will "self-regulate" over time. With the significant BTC price drop in the year comes the lack of profitability to mine Bitcoin. The Ripple CTO, however, believes the network will continue to operate. He opines that the reduction in Bitcoin miners and mining difficulty might once again raise the profitability of mining.