Bitcoin is doing extremely well as of late. The world’s number one cryptocurrency by market cap has once again surged into the $56,000 range and it looks like the asset is again about to hit its all-time high of $57,000.
Bitcoin Mining May Be Doing Some Damage
However, with this growth comes a few consequences, and one of those consequences is the carbon footprint that allegedly comes with the extraction of new BTC and crypto mining. As BTC’s price expands, we’re going to see more miners try to get into the extraction game and pull as many coins as they can into financial circulation. The business is no doubt profitable, but it may be taking a serious toll on our environment.
Alex de Vries, a Dutch economist, is claiming that unless things really die down in the coming months, bitcoin’s carbon footprint could be as wide and as dangerous as the one coming from the city of London in the United Kingdom – one of the biggest and most populous cities.
According to the Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index – which he created – bitcoin mining already requires as much energy as the nations of both Ireland and Norway. While these are smaller countries by comparison to the U.K., one can see that the mark is already being made on the atmosphere, and it also doesn’t help when roughly 60 percent of costs associated with mining have to do with electricity and energy consumption.
This also is likely to go up granted the bitcoin price continues to spike. The higher it goes, the more money a miner will make. The more money they make, they more they can spend on mining. It’s a twisted circle that’s likely to take a serious toll on the world.
de Vries explains in a recent statement:
With 60 percent of this income going to pay for electricity, at a price of $0.05 per kWh [kilowatt hour], the total network could consume up to 184TWh per year.
Right now, between every single data center across the globe, a combined total of 200TWh is being consumed on a regular basis, which suggests that bitcoin is likely to come close and leave a serious dent.
de Vries further states:
A total energy consumption of 184TWh would result in a carbon footprint of 90.2m metric tons of CO2, which is roughly comparable to the carbon emissions produced by the metropolitan area of London.
Taking Away People’s Mining Equipment?
de Vries is now saying that countries need to either impose limits on new bitcoin mining operations or confiscate certain equipment if they care about the future of the planet. He says:
Although bitcoin might be a decentralized currency, many aspects of the ecosystem surrounding it are not. Largescale miners can easily be targeted with higher electricity rates, moratoria or, in the most extreme cases, confiscation of the equipment used.