Block Telegraph Tackles Smart Blockchain and Cryptocurrency News
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It turns out that Bitcoin mining damages the earth more than more traditional environmental assaults like actual mining.
According to a paper published Monday in Sustainability of nature, the energy-intensive Bitcoin mining process consumes more than triple the amount of energy needed to mine the equivalent amount of gold, more than quadruple what is needed for copper, and more than double what is needed for copper ‘it takes to extract the platinum.
The other pieces didn’t do much better. According to their measurements, Ethereum and Litecoin consume 7 megajoules of electricity to produce the equivalent of $ 1, the same energy expenditure as mining copper but more than that of platinum or gold. Monero consumes 14 megajoules to produce $ 1.
Naturally, these metrics refer to the noticeably varying dollar valuations of these tokens. “Although market prices for coins are quite volatile,” write researchers Max J. Krause and Thabet Tolaymat, “network hashrates for three of the four cryptocurrencies have consistently increased, suggesting that energy needs will continue to increase. increase.”
Bitcoin’s Growing Electricity Bill Bigger Than Some Countries
We have known for a long time that Bitcoin is not sustainable. In one 2015 item for motherboardChristopher Malmo pointed out that a single Bitcoin transaction uses 5,033 times more energy than a Visa sweep and can power 1.5 U.S. households for a day.
The electricity used to crack the Bitcoin code – and its environmental cost – has been grows with its increasing popularity. Digiconomist Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index shows that Bitcoin currently consumes 73.12 terawatt-hours (or 263.232 billion megajoules) of electricity per year. To put that in context, it’s comparable to the amount of energy it takes to power Austria for a year.
This means that there are 175 countries on earth using less energy than Bitcoin (to say nothing of crypto as a whole), while 66 countries consume less energy per capita more than one Bitcoin transaction (it takes 94,000 kilowatt hours of electricity to mine a single Bitcoin).
Iceland, a major hub of Bitcoin mining farms, spends almost as much energy on Bitcoin as it does supply your dwelling houses. In this case, the damage is mitigated because most of Icelandic electricity comes from renewable energies.
Canada’s Bitcoin emissions are also on the decline due to renewable energy sources. They use it to woo mining companies in China, where mining emissions are about four times that of Canada. Montréal International attracts foreign investment by qualifying Quebec as a land of “green bitcoin”. This has caught the attention of some Chinese mining companies seeking to go overseas, as the Chinese government has discouraged expansion and shut down some mining operations completely.
Depending on the growth of Bitcoin, some have projected that it could consume as much energy as the whole world by 2020.
Digital currency has a real carbon footprint
Krause and Tolaymat’s research reminds us of the sad reality that all of this unseen wealth has real costs.
For the 30 months they measured between January 2016 and June 2018, they estimate that their four featured tokens collectively spewed out at least 3 million tonnes of CO.2 emissions, perhaps up to 15 million tonnes.
These findings follow another study, published last month, which determined that Bitcoin alone could add two degrees Celsius to global warming over the next three decades. This is sufficient to increase the acidity of the oceans by 29 percent.
Solving the Bitcoin Power Consumption Crisis
So what is the solution? If the world were to go overnight to 100% renewable energy, the problem would be moot. But we can’t hold our breath for it. There might be ways to encourage clean energy so that greener mines collect more coins, or to implement clean energy in other ways.
It is also possible to adopt less computationally intensive mining algorithms so that mining computers do not consume as much juice. It would disappoint a lot of old school Bitcoiners who have invested in hardware, but their feelings don’t really outweigh the 2 degrees Celsius that everyone will have to live (or die) with.
Whatever the best solution, something has to change quickly. Bitcoin is growing and it is time for it to move towards something more sustainable.