Monetary price of health and air quality impacts
Computer screen listing cryptocurrencies (stock image).
Credit: © Colin Cramm / Adobe Stock
Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Monero — the names of digital-based ‘cryptocurrencies’ are being heard more and more frequently. But despite having no physical representation, could these new methods of exchange actually be negatively impacting our planet? It’s a question being asked by researchers at The University of New Mexico, who are investigating the environmental impacts of mining cryptocurrencies.
… some production processes, like the predominate Proof-of Work (POW) scheme used in Bitcoin, require ever increasing computing power and energy use in the winner-take-all competition to solve complex algorithms, and secure new blocks in the chain.”
The researchers estimate that in 2018, every $1 of Bitcoin value created was responsible for $.49 in health and climate damages in the United States.
Although relatively limited in overall use currently, there are cryptocurrencies with alternative production schemes which require significantly less energy use. The researchers hope by publicizing the health and climate impacts of such schemes, they will encourage alternative methods of mining. …