Bitcoin Mining’s Carbon Footprint, 1M Transatlantic Flights

Bitcoin Mining's Carbon Footprint, 1M Transatlantic Flights

BITCOIN MINING’S IMPACT COULD CAUSE GLOBAL DEVASTATION

So much for alternative currency being environmentally friendly.  Well, if Bitcoin is any indication, that is.  Data mining for Bitcoin and the other big cryptocurrencies is crazy resource intense.  It’s gotten to much so that Bitcoin miners have had to be entrepreneurial about finding energy supplies.  This even recently included going to Canada.  Why is this happening?  Well, the faster your computer can think, the faster you can win more Bitcoins.  How can this affect the environment?  Well, scale.  That’s how.  Well, scale and demand.  If you run a data mining operation you might only earn a few Bitcoins.  But when each one is worth almost $6,500, that’s a nice little operation.  So how does that translate in terms of its carbon footprint?  Big. Like 1M transatlantic flights a year big.

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CURRENT MINING CREATES AS MUCH CARBON FOOTPRINT AS 1M TRANSATLANTIC FLIGHTS

The problem is that nice little operation is happening all over the place.  That means major energy demands.  But data mining makes major money.  And if the scale continues to increase, the threat to the environment is very real.  As it is now, data mining for Bitcoin generates the same carbon footprint every year as one million Transatlantic flights.  This is only one cryptocurrency.  There are others.  There will be more.  Some of them will be popular, functional and internationally used in ways we can’t predict.  So this is a real concern.  80% of Bitcoin miners’ “income” is put right back into energy need costs.

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WORLD WOULD END, BUT EVERYONE WOULD MAKE MONEY

But let’s look at some more scale.  If Bitcoin ever makes it to $50,000 dollars for each Bitcoin, energy demand will increase more than 10-fold.  Now that’s a lot of power.  But if it ever makes it up to $1.1 per unit, the numbers say the world could make a profit mining the cryptocurrency using all the electricity the world produces.  Now that’s some scary stuff right there.  So new cryptocurrencies just might want to look at sustainability models.  The strategy is to make money and not destroy the world.  So think about it.  Bitcoin mining alone adds the equivalent of 1M more transatlantic flights.

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