Crypto Mining: A Major Contributor Towards Global Warming

Karan Balwani

January 3, 2019 11:43 am

Crypto Mining

Crypto Mining: A Major Contributor Towards Global Warming
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The cryptocurrencies market has observed quite a rollercoaster ride in the past decade. There have been times when Bitcoin was able to achieve a value of $20,000 in December 2017, while 2018 saw the downturn as the price dropped to sub $4,000 mark.

Bitcoin mining and cryptocurrency mining overall has long been a lucrative way of earning digital currencies. Early adopters of mining lead to the creation of several millionaires. Although the drop in prices of Bitcoin and altcoins has made it difficult to profit from mining. Though mining also has an advantage of increasing the overall security of a blockchain platform, the negative consequences of cryptocurrency mining outweigh the benefits by a significant margin.

According to a study published in Nature Climate Change, conducted by the University of Hawaíi at Mānoa, it was found that Bitcoin mining can lead to the increase in global temperature by 2 degrees C as early as the year 2033.

On one hand, scientists and countries are taking proactive steps to curb the effects of global warming. Meanwhile, cryptocurrency mining continues to utilize exponential quantities of electricity for its sustainability.

Randi Rollins, co-author of the paper said 

“Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency with heavy hardware requirements, and this obviously translates into large electricity demands,”

In fact, the mere act of purchasing and selling Bitcoins requires incredibly high amounts of electricity.

A team at the university collected and analyzed information about the power efficiency of computers which are used in Bitcoin mining. It is estimated that in 2017 alone, Bitcoin was responsible for generating 69 million metric tons of CO2. The most alarming part is that this number continues to rise.

Katie Taladay, a Ph.D. student at UH Mānoa and co-author of the research paper said

“Currently, the emissions from transportation, housing, and food are considered the main contributors to ongoing climate change. The research illustrates that Bitcoin should be added to the list.”

Camilo Mora, Associate professor, Geography said

“We cannot predict the future of Bitcoin, but if implemented at a rate even close to the slowest pace at which other technologies have been incorporated, it will spell very bad news for climate change and the people and species impacted by it. With the ever-growing devastation created by hazardous climate conditions, humanity is coming to terms with the fact that climate change is as real and personal as it can be. Clearly, any further development of cryptocurrencies should critically aim to reduce electricity demand, if the potentially devastating consequences of 2 degrees C global warming are to be avoided.”

If we are looking to slow down global warming, there is a need for active measures and strict regulations to prevent this inevitable catastrophe.

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