July 4, 2022

Bitcoin is getting dirtier

Bitcoin is getting dirtier


New York
CNN Business

Bitcoin is a mess that causes pollution. Despite efforts to make energy-intensive mining more environmentally friendly, its reliance on fossil fuels has increased significantly over the past year.

Cryptocurrency mining banned in China In the spring of 2021, Bitcoin’s environmental impact significantly worsened, according to new mining research Posted in mobile. That’s because bitcoin miners were exploiting a A large amount of Chinese hydropower Alex de Vries, one of the study authors and a researcher in the School of Business and Economics at Vrije University Amsterdam, said it suddenly evaporated when China made mining illegal.

So miners have taken their business to other places, including countries that use much dirtier energy than China. The electricity sources powering the Bitcoin network were only 25.1% renewable in August 2021, about 17 percentage points lower than the 2020 average.

The study found that Bitcoin mining each year produces as much pollution as Greece did in 2019. A single Bitcoin transaction results in the same carbon footprint as a traveler traveling from New York to Amsterdam.

“After China banned bitcoin mining, everyone was expecting it to get greener, but it is somewhat surprising to see the opposite happen.” De Vries said. “A lot of the hydroelectric power that these miners previously got in China has now been replaced by natural gas from the United States.”

Bitcoin mining is still booming in the US. According to the study, many US bitcoin miners run on natural gas and coal. Kentucky It is now offering subsidies to crypto miners, who are looking to attract business to the state’s coal industry.

Kazakhstan has It has also become a destination for bitcoin miners. According to the study, the country’s power grid relies on hard coal, which is more polluting than coal used in China.

The hydroelectric power behind bitcoin mining in China has often been stymied by crypto advocates to refute criticism about the technology’s environmental impact.

In May, Coinbase – one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges – published “reality checkCiting hydroelectric power stations in China in an attempt to undermine the notion of Bitcoin’s contribution to climate change.

Coinbase did not respond to CNN’s questions about whether it was sticking to a fact-check in light of China’s cryptocurrency campaign, but said in a statement that it believes “the industry is innovating at an encouraging pace to solve these challenges…community-led change is possible and cryptocurrency can be.” Part of the fight against climate change if we come together to solve these challenges.”