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Power Hungry

A new perspective on dirty mining.

The Wrap: Power Hungry

Power Hungry

Bitcoin believer or not, this is not what this section is about. Create your own thesis on its viability as means of exchange, a store of value or even a purely money making trade but a less subjective topic is the impact crypto mining has on the environment.

A US Senate report revealed that almost 1% of global energy consumption goes towards bitcoin related activities; comparable to New York State’s annual consumption. Energy Research journal estimated mining expelled up to 37 megatons of carbon dioxide annually, equal to New Zealand’s carbon footprint.

Let’s make these figures a little more relatable.

Based on annual emissions, one bitcoin transaction is equal to emissions from 48,573 of hours of YouTube. Furthermore, say you were to buy a burger with bitcoin. Related carbon emissions would be equal to just 1 visa transaction…and a 747 flying 3 hour to hand deliver your burger.

Estimates peg China as the biggest BTC miner in the world, accounting for 65% of global hash power (the power used to solve complex algorithms). The US sits in 2nd at 7%. Interestingly, Kazakhstan and Iran are the 4th and 5th biggest miners globally. Given mining’s electricity dependency, miners often congregate in areas with cheap electricity.

In the last week Iran has been hit with region wide blackouts. The government partly attributes bitcoin mining to the country’s energy crisis.

Of course, we could break down the immense environmental impact of every action we make but there’s a growing contingent bringing awareness to bitcoin’s environmental unfriendliness; especially given its relative utility.

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