Mining Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are more energy-intensive than conventional mining. This conclusion was made by American scientists.
In their study, scientists Max Krause and Thabet Tolaymat noted that in 2018, for mining Bitcoin it took 19 MJ of energy per generated dollar, and for Ethereum, Litecoin and Monero – 9, 15 and 14 MJ, respectively.
At the same time, the consumption for the extraction of gold, platinum, and rare earth metals was 6, 5 and 9 MJ. A more energy-intensive process than mining cryptocurrency is the production of aluminum (110 MJ).
It is noted that this year the Bitcoin network consumed about 30.1 billion kWh-more – more than the consumption of electricity in Denmark for the same period. Scientists added that in the time period of two years, the mining of cryptocurrency caused the release of 16.5 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
According to research by the University of Hawaii scientists, after 20 years, due to mining, the temperature of the Earth could increase by 2 degrees.
Last year, due to energy consumption from bitcoin mining, 69 million tons of carbon were released into the atmosphere, which is 1% of the total.
In order to predict the future environmental footprint, the researchers examined the level of adoption of other US innovations, such as credit cards and dishwashers. It turned out that if the adoption of Bitcoin will coincide with the indicators of these technologies, then in 16-22 years the temperature on Earth will increase by 2 degrees Celsius. According to scientists, we can note a temperature rise of more than 1.5 degrees threatens to have irreversible consequences for the climate.
The climatic impact of mining cryptocurrency could mitigate the growth in the use of sources of renewable electricity, according to the authors of the study.
“Bitcoin energy consumption and carbon footprint largely depend on mining revenues. If revenues are not increased, the power consumption will not grow. If the price of bitcoin grows the network could someday consume 5% of the world’s electricity” – suggested blockchain specialist Alex de Vries.
In August, Professor of the Qatar University, Jon Truby, published a study in which he described environmental damage from the crypto and blockchain industry.
Meanwhile, according to analysts from the Swiss financial holding Credit Suisse, the growth of the bitcoin mining industry will not provoke an environmental disaster, despite the active consumption of electricity.