The use of the cryptocurrency for one dollar costs about the same amount as for the extraction of certain metals.
Cryptographic currencies like Bitcoin have led to environmental problems because extracting virtual currencies requires energy-intensive computing. However, it is difficult to quantify the environmental impact of cryptocurrency production.
"It was really amazing," said Max Krause, an environmental engineer, about his findings, which he published today in the journal Nature Sustainability. "We've found that taking a bitcoin out of a dollar uses three times more energy than getting a dollar of gold."
Extracting cryptocurrencies is a process whereby a "minor" packages a block of cryptographically encrypted transactions in a blockchain, a transaction log.
The job requires computers, servers, and powerful cooling equipment, all of which help increase energy costs. In some countries, energy costs make the purchase of a bitcoin as expensive as a mining operation.
To "use" Bitcoin, powerful computer-specific and compute-intensive mathematical problems must be solved to generate parts. There is no constructive alternative solution, ie the computing power provided by specialized hardware is required to create a rare digital currency. Before investing time and equipment, read this guide to find out if mining is right for you. We will focus mainly on Bitcoin.
Extraction of cryptocurrencies is the process by which new transactions, also called blockchains, are added to the digital book and the new currency is created. Mining is described in the report as a "consensus or consensus process" in which "miners" are performed by repetitive calculations using specialized computer hardware. The first miner who finds the correct "answer" adds a new block to the mining chain and is rewarded by this calculation, which consumes energy with several newly created parts. "
"We found that Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Monero, which are four of the largest cryptocurrencies, consumed between 7 and 17 megajoules per dollar, while the oxides of gold, copper, platinum and rare earth Max Krause, an environmental engineer he told Bob McDonald, Host of Quirks & Quarks.
This is not just an analysis of the value and effectiveness of the cryptocurrency at this time. The couple has spent the last two and a half years exploring Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Monero to determine these values. During this period, the production of these four currencies generated between 3 and 15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. It is a broad spectrum because it is difficult to know exactly where all the energy is consumed. In China, where most Bitcoin mining activities take place, power comes almost entirely from fossil fuels, which produce more carbon.
The authors report that bitcoin mining has produced between 3 and 13 million tonnes of carbon dioxide for more than 30 months between 2016 and 2018. This area does not take into account the operation and maintenance of the mine. Even in this case, it roughly equates to the carbon dioxide spectrum of about 1 million automobiles, even though it still accounts for less than 0.01% of global emissions.
Krause's concern not only concerns energy consumption, but also the amount of carbon dioxide emissions that heat the climate he represents. He calculated that for the period between January 1, 2016, and June 30, 2018, the use of the four major digital currencies he examined accounted for between three and fifteen million tonnes of CO2 emissions.