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Tue Dec 6, 2022, 09:41 AM

From 2016 To 2021, The Carbon Output Of One Bitcoin Grew 126-Fold

With no physical form, the digital currency Bitcoin can feel all but invisible to those who don’t use it. However, its harmful climate impacts are all too real – and they’re getting worse. Emissions from mining the cryptocurrency have skyrocketed, researchers reported recently in Scientific Reports. From 2016 to 2021, the carbon footprint of mining a single Bitcoin multiplied a staggering 126 times. In that window, Bitcoin mining caused an estimated $12 billion in global climate damages.

“We find no evidence that Bitcoin mining is becoming more sustainable over time,” said economist Benjamin Jones of the University of New Mexico in a statement. “Rather, our results suggest the opposite: Bitcoin mining is becoming dirtier and more damaging to the climate.” (Jones and his two coauthors declined interview requests from Mongabay.)

When someone buys or trades Bitcoin, computers in the network compete to solve a complex numerical puzzle. The winning computer then validates the transaction, earning its owner new Bitcoin. This process is called “mining.” The computing power needed to mine Bitcoin, by far the world’s largest cryptocurrency by value, comes at a cost. Bitcoin in 2020 used 75.4 terawatt-hours of electricity — more than the country of Austria. Most of that electricity comes from burning fossil fuels like coal and natural gas, the researchers said.

To estimate the resulting climate impacts, Jones and his team analyzed how Bitcoin’s electricity demand fluctuated from 2016 to 2021. Based on where miners operate and how those places produce electricity, they found, mining a coin in 2021 emitted 113 metric tons (111.2 imperial tons) of carbon dioxide on average, up from just 0.9 metric tons in 2016. Assuming each metric ton of carbon dioxide causes $100 of environmental damage — a figure similar to those used by other researchers — then each Bitcoin mined in 2021 dealt over $11,300 of climate damages.



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Reply From 2016 To 2021, The Carbon Output Of One Bitcoin Grew 126-Fold (Original post)
hatrack Dec 2022 OP
ColinC Dec 2022 #1

Response to hatrack (Original post)

Tue Dec 6, 2022, 10:19 AM

1. This is a great argument for people to gamble with other cryptos

That don’t use as much power.

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