Blockchain, Elon Musk and Climate Change
Just the other day Elon Musk sent Bitcoin tumbling by announcing Tesla would in fact not not take the popular cryptocurrency as payment.
Everyone has heard stories of people getting rich in the last several years from cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum. However, have you heard of the environmental impacts of these currencies? The concern is due to the immense energy required for “mining”. This process requires more and more processing power (and thusly electrical power) to solve complex mathematical problems. This is done by specialized computer software called Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASIC). Take Bitcoin’s annual energy consumption, which is comparable to the yearly consumption of both Argentina and Ukraine! Bitcoin alone produces 36.95 megatons of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually. Around 65 percent of this mining occurs in China, because of the lower cost of electricity.
While there are many benefits to blockchain technology and cryptocurrency, is estimated that in 30 years Bitcoin alone could increase global temperatures 2 degrees Celsius. As this global technology continues to increase in popularity, it’s environmental impact should also be considered.