New Report Claims Bitcoin Mining CO2 Emission is on par With a Major US City

TheMerkle China Bitcoin Mining

It has been at least a few months since the last condemning report involving Bitcoin mining was published. A new report published in Joule claims the emission of Bitcoin miners is getting out of hand rather quickly. So much even that it allegedly puts out as much CO2 per year as the entire Kansas City area. As is usually the case, these reports need to be taken with a few grains of salt.

Another Shot at Bitcoin Mining

Over the past few years, numerous reports have indicated how wasteful Bitcoin mining can be. More specifically, this train of thought doesn’t apply to just Bitcoin, but all cryptocurrencies and assets combined. It is certainly true this process requires a lot of electricity, although the total consumption is far below what most people seem to think of these days. Most of the reports to date are based on figures which do not add up in the real world, for the most part.

In Joule, a journal, a self-professed “more accurate estimate of the carbon footprint of Bitcoin mining” has been published. All of the figures are calculated very differently from the norm, which is always interesting to keep an eye on. Rather than going by rough numbers, the team effectively used data from IPO filings of companies producing hardware to mine Bitcoin. Whether or not this will make the numbers add up any better, remains to be determined.

The result of this survey is rather surprising but in a somewhat positive manner. To be more precise, the current estimate of Bitcoin’s carbon emission is roughly on par with that of Kansas City. A surprising conclusion, as that would indicate the mining of Bitcoin equals 0.5% of the world’s entire electricity usage. A very interesting figure to keep an eye on, primarily because the researchers claim this will increase to 5% in the next few years. Bitcoin mining is still an ongoing process, and more advanced hardware will be needed as time progresses.

Given the statistics, the mining of Bitcoin appears to produce 22.5 megatons of carbon dioxide. A very steep number, depending on how one wants to look at things. It is a bit unclear if this is an accurate figure, however, primarily because a lot of Bitcoin mining farms are shifting to renewable energy whenever possible. That should help reduce the overall emission rates of Bitcoin, albeit its impact is rather minimal at this time.

There is also the question as to whether or not this research was able to access all of the correct information. While IPO filings submitted by Bitmain, Canaan, and Ebang were included in the research, there are other types of mining hardware in use as well. Moreover, going by the manufacturer’s estimates of energy efficiency is not necessarily entirely reliable. It is evident that determining the emission rate of BTC mining will always be a bit of a guessing game first and foremost.

The bigger question is whether or not this paper is something to be worried about. Cryptocurrency mining has received a bad reputation quite some time ago, and there is very little one can do about the situation to change that in a positive manner. Moreover, the research only goes back as far as November of 2018, as a lot of things have changed between then and now. Moreover, it does not account for potential changes in the years and decades to come.

Disclaimer: This is not trading or investment advice. The above article is for entertainment and education purposes only. Please do your own research before purchasing or investing into any cryptocurrency or digital currency.

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Publication date: 
06/13/2019 - 17:00
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