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Is Cryptocurrency Harmful To Environment?

Many people are positive on cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are harmful cryptocurrency and mining is extremely energy-intensive, which means it is not environmentally friendly.

Even while mining is only one of several methods available for validating cryptocurrency transactions and minting new crypto coins, it is the approach employed by Bitcoin and other popular cryptocurrencies.

Continue reading to discover out how much energy is consumed by bitcoin mining, as well as the additional environmental consequences of cryptocurrency use and adoption.

Learn about low-energy alternatives to cryptocurrency mining that can save you money and time.

Important Takeaways

  • In order to accomplish the computations connected with crypto mining, Bitcoin and other proof-of-work cryptocurrencies require massive quantities of energy—amounts greater than those consumed by whole nations.
  • The bulk of Bitcoin mining operations take place in the United States, which accounts for 35% of all Bitcoin mining activity worldwide.
  • Renewable energy sources, such as hydropower, account for over 39 percent of the total energy consumed by Bitcoin mining operations.
  • Bitcoin mining generates around 30 kilotons of electronic garbage every year as a byproduct, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • New methods for verifying bitcoin transactions are being developed and deployed in order to minimise the amount of energy used by cryptocurrency transactions.

cryptocurrency environmental impact

Cryptocurrency Mining Consumes a Lot of Electricity.

Several studies, like the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, have found that Bitcoin, the most widely-mined cryptocurrency network.

Which consumes 122.87 Terawatt-hours of electricity annually, more than the Netherlands, Argentina, or the United Arab Emirates combined.

In order to be mined, a single Bitcoin block may use more than 2,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity.

Which is comparable to the amount of electricity spent by an ordinary American family for 72.2 days, according to Digiconomist, a cryptocurrency analytics website.

According to Digiconomist, the Ethereum network consumed 99.6 Terawatt-hours of electricity every year, which is more electricity than is required by the Philippines or Belgium combined.

A single Ethereum block consumed 220 kilowatt-hours of electricity, which is the equivalent of the amount of electricity consumed by an ordinary U.S. home in 7.44 days on a daily basis.

Read More:Ethereum Staking Explained: What Is It, and How Do I Stake It? Ethereum Staking

However, it should be noted that Ethereum has subsequently switched to Proof-of-State (PoS), which does not necessitate the use of energy-intensive mining as with Proof-of-Work (PoW).

The quantity of energy needed by cryptocurrency mining is expected to rise in the future as the number of people who use bitcoin grows and the efficiency of mining declines.

In order to mine cryptocurrency, you must have a lot of processing power. As cryptocurrency blockchains become longer and the rivalry to win crypto rewards continues to grow.

The amount of computer power necessary to mine cryptocurrency increases as well. With an increased need for processing capacity comes a rise in the amount of energy consumed by cryptographic networks.

How Much Energy Is Needed for Cryptocurrency Mining

The high energy consumption of crypto mining is a feature, not a flaw, according to some observers.

Mine for Bitcoin or any proof-of-work (PoW) cryptocurrency is meant to use significant amounts of energy, much like mining for actual gold is.

With the demand for both expensive mining hardware and a large amount of electricity to power that hardware, there are significant hurdles to entry.

As a result, it is exceedingly difficult (if not impossible) for a small group of miners to gain control of a whole crypto network.

Cryptocurrency supporters claim that the decentralised nature of cryptocurrency networks offers several advantages over centralised currency systems.

Primarily because cryptocurrency networks may operate without the need for a trusted middleman, such as a central bank.

A cryptocurrency network operates and maintains its security without the assistance of a centralised authority, which is provided by miners who employ vast quantities of computer power to do this.

cryptocurrency environmental impact

Cryptocurrency Mining Has Negative Environmental Effects

Digitalconomist estimates that Bitcoin mining produces around 96 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year, which is equivalent to the amount of carbon dioxide emissions produced by several smaller nations.

Annual carbon dioxide emissions from the mining of Ethereum are more than 47 million metric tonnes of CO2.

According to researchers at the University of Cambridge, the majority of Bitcoin mining—approximately 35% in 2021—will take place in the United States.

The majority of the power produced in the United States comes from the combustion of fossil fuels. 1 Kazakhstan, another nation that derives the majority of its energy from fossil fuels, is second only to the United States in accounting for 18 percent of the world’s Bitcoin mining capacity.

As a result, two nations that are largely reliant on fossil fuels are responsible for the vast bulk of Bitcoin mining activity on the planet.

Cryptocurrency mining also creates a substantial quantity of electronic trash, due to the fact that mining hardware becomes obsolete quite rapidly.

In particular, this is true for Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) miners, which are highly specialised devices intended specifically for mining the most popular cryptocurrencies.

Digiconomist estimates that the Bitcoin network produces around 30 thousand tonnes of electronic garbage every year, on average.

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Is It Possible That Cryptocurrency Mining Will Consume Less Energy?

Large-scale bitcoin miners are frequently concentrated in areas where electricity is plentiful, dependable, and inexpensive.

Processing cryptocurrency transactions and minting new coins, on the other hand, do not have to be energy-intensive processes.

Validating cryptocurrency transactions and creating new currencies using the proof-of-stake (PoS) algorithm is a low-energy alternative to cryptocurrency mining that does not require a large amount of computational power.

Instead, the ability to verify transactions and manage the cryptocurrency network is awarded depending on the amount of cryptocurrency that a validator has “staked,” or promised not to trade or sell, in exchange for their agreement not to trade or sell.

Additionally, other techniques of validation, such as evidence of history, proof of elapsed time, proof of burn, and proof of capacity, are being researched and implemented.

These approaches are not dependent on large amounts of computer power, which gives them a distinct advantage over the energy-intensive proof of work methodology.

cryptocurrency environmental impact

Solutions That Are Currently in Place

Farms Producing Renewable Energy

Crypto farms have been switching to more environmentally friendly electricity sources in recent years.

Because of Iceland’s cheaper electricity prices and cooler temperatures than other countries, numerous crypto farms are being erected there (to cool the computers).

There is a large proportion of their electricity provided by renewable geothermal sources, which release far lower levels of carbon dioxide than coal or gas-fired power plants. Aside from that, Iceland participates in the emissions trading system of the European Union.

Despite the fact that the system is flawed in its design, sources claim that it “does an excellent job of internalising the societal cost of electricity generation.”

Quebec, Canada, is yet another popular mining destination. Hydroelectricity accounts for 95 percent of total electricity generation, with especially low electricity costs.

While the total environmental effect of hydropower is debatable, it is generally agreed that its carbon footprint is a fraction of that of gas- and coal-fired power plants.

As part of its efforts to price carbon emissions, Canada recently launched a national cap-and-trade system.

Mechanisms That Are Different From the Norm

Proof of work, or the promise of a payment once a miner successfully solves a mathematical problem, is the primary motivator in certain cryptocurrencies’ operating models.

According to this concept, the more the price of Bitcoin rises, the greater the level of competition for Bitcoin mining. As a result of this process, the power consumption of Bitcoin is only expected to rise in the long run.

Some alternative cryptocurrencies, like as Cardano and Polkadot, rely on a consensus method known as “proof of stake,” in which members purchase tokens that allow them to join the network.

This technique consumes far less energy than the previous one. For example, the Cardano network utilises 6 GWh of electricity, which is merely a fraction of the overall energy usage of the Bitcoin network.

People Also See:In-depth Analysis of the Goldfinch Blockchain and Its Governance

Reusing Excessive Waste Energy

Some Bitcoin advocates say that, despite the fact that the overall quantity of energy consumed is considerable, it is still only half as much as the amount of energy spent by idle household appliances in the United States.

In the United States, the amount of energy wasted on unused household equipment such as phone chargers and microwaves could run the bitcoin network for two years at a time.

The mining industry has proposed a number of scenarios in which miners began to make use of extra energy that was previously being wasted.

For example, the Chinese province of Sichuan, where the vast majority of Chinese miners work, is suffering from overcapacity due to the state-driven Three Gorges Dam project, which created a surplus of electricity that is unable to be used at optimal rates.

As an alternative to squandering this electricity, a hyper-mobile fleet of hardware miners may come in and out of the system to take use of the surplus capacity.


Some people refer to cryptocurrency as “money with a genuine carbon footprint.” They may be a part of our future, but one thing is certain: global energy consumption will rise dramatically if they stick around.

We must raise awareness of the trade-offs between cryptocurrency advantages and environmental costs in light of the rising effects of the climate catastrophe.

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