Energy Consumption of Cryptocurrency Mining Accelerates Climate Change

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First, it was the emissions that cows and farmers produced. Then it was what we created while driving.

Now, the energy consumption from cryptocurrency mining is adding more accelerant to the climate change issues we face. By 2024, the carbon emissions from Chinese bitcoin mining will exceed the entire energy demands of Saudi Arabia and Italy.

Most bitcoin mining occurs in places where electricity remains affordable to keep costs down. That’s why the coal-heavy regions in China have attractive the most attention. About 75% of all activities happen there today.

According to Bill Gates, bitcoin uses more electricity per transaction than any other current method. Only one of them is the equivalent to over 735,000 Visa® transactions.

Bitcoin Mining Could Use 297 Twh in 2024

If Chinese bitcoin mining reaches the projected levels of just under 300 Twh in 2024, that figure would be the 121st-highest country in the world for energy consumption. That also means over 130 metric tons of carbon emissions would flow into the atmosphere.

This emission output surpassed the total greenhouse gas output of Qatar and the Czech Republic, according to 2016 figures.

China announced that they would be cracking down on bitcoin operations in 20201 to reduce emissions and energy consumption in the region. For Inner Mongolia, the plan forces 100% of the existing mines to close while preventing anyone else from starting something new.

Some miners, including Bitmain (which is listed on the NASDAQ exchange), have said that they plan to shift operations to areas that have more renewable energy options. As the environmental impact of this effort is seen, the change has been a priority for many of today’s top producers.

In 2020, about 76% of miners used at least some electricity from renewable sources. That figure is up from 60% in 2018.