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How today cryptocurrency and the environment are interconnected?
The most obvious environmental impact of cryptocurrency is the electricity required for the mining process, which is how new digital coins are created. While most know this as Bitcoin mining, many forms of cryptocurrency rely on mining. But since Bitcoin’s release, it’s become progressively harder to mint new units of currency through mining. This was by design, as the currency was capped at million units, so the more units minted, the fewer units there are available to mine, and the more computational power it takes to mint new ones.The environmental concern comes from the estimated carbon footprint generated by the power plants providing that energy. And it isn’t just mining that uses lots of powera single Bitcoin transaction is estimated to burn ,. kilowatt hours of electricity, enough to power a typical US household for over days.
How much does cryptocurrency cost the environment?
Electricity may seem like a clean source of energy, but many countries burn fossil fuels to generate it, which adds to the carbon in the atmosphere and worsens climate change. There’s also the issue of physical electronic waste. Computers, graphics cards, purpose-built ASIC rigs, and more are used for mining. Since increased computing power translates to an advantage in the race to mine more coins, people are constantly upgrading and throwing away old equipment, producing up to , tons of electronic waste every year.
Does mining and transacting with crypto actually contribute to climate change?
Beside the throwing away old equipment, producing up to , tons of electronic waste, and the electricity that is created form fossil fuel, that are other factor that we should consider. The power plants necessary for crypto mining can also have an impact on the surrounding ecosystem. According to Columbia Climate School, the Greenidge Generation plant in Dresden, New York, draws millions of gallons of water to cool itself while running, and discharges some of that water back into Lake Seneca at – degrees Fahrenheit above normal temperature, which endangers the wildlife.
Efforts to make crypto more green include using methane gas from fossil fuel drilling that usually gets burned off, and setting up plants in areas where wind power is abundant, like West Texas. These are good ideas in theory, but if the price of Bitcoin were to crash, it may not be financially feasible to implement these projects or others like them.
How the Cryptocurrency developers are planning to solve this?
Initiatives like the Bitcoin Mining Council and the Crypto Climate Accord are also developing new ways to make crypto mining and transactions more energy efficient. The Crypto Climate Accord has a stated goal of running all blockchains on entirely renewable energy by . Some mining operations currently run on renewable energy, but it’s hard to pin down an exact percentage.
Sure cryptocurrency may have some effect in the environment for many reasons but with new technology we just need to find ways to solve that. Those new ways to make crypto mining more energy efficient, and the deploy of energy clean sources of energy, we may have a solution right there.These measures can all reduce the energy cost of cryptocurrency and crypto mining, but the issues of e-waste and other environmental consequences still need to be addressed for cryptocurrency to become sustainable in the long term.
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