Environmental cost of cryptocurrency mines

Monetary price of health and air quality impacts

Computer screen listing cryptocurrencies (stock image).
Credit: © Colin Cramm / Adobe Stock

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/11/191113092600.htm
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.

Their data shows that at one point during 2018, the cost in damages that it took to create Bitcoin matched the value of the exchange itself. …

… the specialized machines used for mining also have to kept cool, so they won’t overheat while computing such complex algorithms. That additional energy-use was not part of this study, which means even more energy is being consumed than is currently being accounted for when looking solely at the usage of running the machines. …

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. …

“The ability to locate cryptomining almost anywhere (i.e. following the cheapest, under-regulated electricity source) …creates significant challenges to implementing regulation,” the paper says.

About Kevin Yaworski

I use my blog to write about things I find interesting or that I think are matter of public interest.
This entry was posted in Financial, Health and wellness, international, News and politics, Science & Technology, Sustainability and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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