What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is by far the most popular type of digital currency in the world. It operates free of any central control or the oversight of banks or government. Instead, it relies on peer-to-peer software and cryptography. A public ledger records all bitcoin transactions and copies are held on servers around the world.
Why Crypto Mining is a big issue.
There is a fiery debate surrounding cryptocurrency at the moment and it all ties into its effects on the environment. Like the rise of Bitcoin, the amount of energy it consumes is rising with it. A BofA report shows an “astronomical surge” in C02 emissions due to an increase in Bitcoin prices. Over the past two years, this historic rise in Bitcoin has led to emissions increasing by over 40 million tons — which is equivalent to 8.9 million cars added to the road the BofA report says.
If this isn’t already enough proof of the damage Bitcoin is causing, crypto mining emits more C02 than the whole of Greece and that is surely set to worsen. For example, if the price of Bitcoin rose to 1 million, Bitcoin could turn into the fifth largest CO2 emitter in the world which would surpass Japan.
In 2020, China controlled over 65% of the global processing power that runs the bitcoin network; miners took advantage of its cheap electricity from hydropower and dirty coal power plants. Recently, however, China cracked down on mining out of concerns about cryptocurrency’s financial risks and enormous energy consumption that works against China’s goal to be carbon neutral by 2060.
Can we Reduce Crypto Mining’s Environmental Impact?
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.
In May 2021, Elon Musk decided to go back on his decision to let customers pay for Tesla cars using Bitcoin his reason being “Mining the digital currency is taking its toll on the environment.” This shows that there are powerful people out there who want to do what is best for our planet.