Environmental Impact of Cryptocurrencies: How Bad Is Bitcoin? — DailyCoin


DailyCoin had an exclusive interview with Fred Thiel, CEO of Marathon Digital Holdings, one of the largest Bitcoin mining operations in North America that is functioning at comparatively low energy costs. By the end of 2022, Marathon Digital Holdings plans to be 100% carbon neutral.

During another interview, DailyCoin discussed environmental issues caused by cryptocurrency with Alex de Vries, founder of Digiconomist, a platform that analyzes the environmental impact of cryptocurrencies.

In the report “Bitcoin Net Zero,” Ross Stevens and Nic Carter made a chart that compares the energy consumption of Bitcoin mining with other industries. According to the report, in 2020, aviation transportation consumed 4,030 TWh, over 70 times more energy than Bitcoin. Air conditioning and electric fans consumed 2,000 TWh compared to Bitcoin at 62 TWh.

“Today we are at 49 TWh on an annualized basis. So we’ve actually seen a decline in energy use in the past year. Part of that is because of the crypto mining prohibition in China. There, energy production for Bitcoin was predominantly coal-based, and if this was shut off and replaced with mostly renewable energy like in North America, then you would see the carbon footprint drop dramatically,”

Thiel told DailyCoin.

Carbon emissions of Bitcoin (33 MtCO2) in 2020 also ranked low on the chart compared to major mined products: aluminum’s carbon emissions amounted to 1,084 MtCO2, gold’s amounted to 101 MtCO2, and zinc’s amounted to 47 MtCO2.

However, there’s an opposing view of how the consumed energy by Bitcoin actually compares to other pollutants:

“Bitcoin is responsible for around 0.25% of global CO2 emissions, which obviously means many other industries are still bigger (e.g. fashion is responsible for around 10%). But of course there's a relative element too. Everyone wears clothes; Bitcoin can handle 7 transactions per second (at most) so people couldn't really use it if they wanted to. A single Bitcoin transaction has about the same footprint as 80 T-shirts. In that sense there's nothing less energy-efficient than Bitcoin,”

de Vries explained.

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