Crypto Mining Uses More Energy Than Mining Metals
November 6, 2018 1:28 pm
The mining of cryptocurrencies uses a lot more energy than required to mine such as copper, platinum or gold. A research was published on this by the Nature Sustainability journal.
It seems that cryptocurrencies are rapidly becoming a major contributor towards the already alarming pace of global warming. Thanks to the mining of these virtual currencies, millions of tons of additional CO2 is released into the atmosphere.
As the interest in cryptocurrencies and mining continues to grow, it is certain that the environmental conditions are destined to get even worse.
Cryptocurrencies are virtual currencies that can be used as an alternative to money. They are not controlled by any government of the financial body and allow for secure and easy payments through the use of cryptography.
Cryptocurrency mining is a way people can earn cryptocurrencies. To collect their reward, miners use their computing power to validate previous transactions and solve various number-based problems. Successful mining provides the newly generated coins as a reward.
Max Krause the person who was leading the journal’s research planned to mine his own cryptocurrencies. When he calculated the amount of electricity he would need to make a profit, he reached that cryptocurrencies use 7-17 megajoules of energy to produce $1 US equivalent in digital assets. Notably, he compared the top four currencies in the market for this calculation namely, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Monero.
When he compared this expenditure to the energy and costs required to mine physical metals of equivalent value, he found that it is twice as expensive to mine Bitcoin compared to copper, gold or even rare earth oxides.
Another research earlier this year estimated that the whole Bitcoin network uses electricity equivalent to Ireland’s consumption each year. Between January 2016 to June 2018, cryptocurrency networks were responsible for generating 16.5 million tons of CO2 emissions.
“We can embrace new technology but we should have a good understanding of what exactly we are embracing,” Krause said on the future of cryptocurrencies.