Bitcoin’s rising popularity can be attributed to its recent bull run following which, the world’s largest cryptocurrency briefly breached the $9000 mark. At the same time, the cryptocurrency has been plagued with several criticisms from various quarters, one of which is the environmental impact of BTC mining.
A recent study by researchers from MIT and the Technical University of Munich has revealed that critics were right about BTC’s impact on the environment. The study stated that towards late 2018, the entire Bitcoin network contributed 22-22.9 million tonnes of CO2 every year. The startling fact was that the amount of CO2 generated by Bitcoin mining was almost equal to the carbon footprint produced by the city of Las Vegas and even countries such as Sri Lanka. Chris Stoll, one of the report’s authors said,
“There are bigger factors contributing to climate change. However, the carbon footprint is big enough to make it worth discussing the possibility of regulating cryptocurrency mining in regions where power generation is especially carbon-intensive.”
According to the research, the computing power required to generate the BTC hash in 2018 increased by 3x, forcing electricity consumption to rise as well. The report added that till November 2018, the annual electricity consumption of Bitcoin ranged between 35 TWh and 72.7 TWh, with a realistic assumption of 48.2 TWh. The release added,
“We further calculate that the resulting annual carbon emissions range between 21.5 and 53.6 MtCO2; a ratio which sits between the levels produced by Bolivia and Portugal. The magnitude of these carbon emissions, combined with the risk of collusion and concerns about control over the monetary system, might justify regulatory intervention to protect individuals from themselves and others from their actions.”
The study comes in the wake of another report that had shed a positive light on Bitcoin mining, claiming that 74 percent of all mining was conducted using renewable sources of energy. In the report compiled by Coinshares, it was revealed that BTC mining was more renewable-driven, than almost every other large scale industry in the world.
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