Why Bitcoin (and Only Bitcoin) Needs Proof of Work

The comment I receive most on why Bitcoin won’t work is its significant energy consumption. Most comments sound something like, “If Bitcoin were a country, it’d rank XXth in terms of energy consumption. There are many more energy efficient alternatives for reaching consensus1.” While Bitcoin’s energy consumption is indeed impressive, I will make the case for why this energy consumption is necessary for Bitcoin as “digital gold.”

The purpose of proof of work (PoW)2 is to secure the network and create energy-dependent immutability. Bitcoin…