The huge carbon footprint of bitcoin mining – how big is it?

Bankenverband,cryptocurrency,digital currency

CBS News just reported that the carbon dioxide released in our atmosphere from bitcoin mining operations is comparable to the one released by major  cities such as Hamburg or Las Vegas.

According to a study by MIT and Technical University of Munich, which sought to examine how much power is needed for mining bitcoin and the amount of carbon footprint mining leaves, at the end of 2018, bitcoin mining caused around 23 millions tons of carbon dioxide – an amount similar to the one in major cities or even entire developing countries such as Sri Lanka. At the same time, the total global emissions of the greenhouse gas from the burning of fossil fuels were around 37 billion tons in 2018.

It also matters where exactly bitcoin is mined. The study suggests that there should be some regulations when it comes to where bitcoin can be mined. For example, in countries where the carbon dioxide emissions are especially high, the mining of bitcoin will only worsen the climate and quality of life for residents.

Currently, around 63% of all bitcoin is mined in Asia, 17% – in Europe and 15% in North America. Another interesting fact is that most miners would prefer to mine in colder locations around the world, so as to save from cooling machines costs.

The most concerning element in the study, however, is the measured carbon dioxide per transaction, which is the staggering amount of 271 kilograms of carbon dioxide or, equivalently, several hundred times the amount generated by a credit card transaction. The information comes from CBS News.


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