Bitcoin mining has been all the rage in the last few years, but there is a hidden cost that the environment needs to pay in the long run.
According to CBC, Bitcoin was involved in less than half a percent of the world's transactions. What this means is that there's an increasing demand for the cryptocurrency and along with that is the need to actually get more Bitcoins.
So, the issue sits in the mining area of things. Mining is when a computer or ASIC (Application-Specific Integrated Circuit) solves complicated math problems to create Bitcoin. This requires two things, a lot of power-hungry computers and a ton of electricity.
According to the study that was published in the journal Nature Climate Change, Bitcoin mining has produced around sixty-nine million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2017.
The research also estimates that at around fifteen years, we could see it using enough electricity to pump out 230 gigatonnes of carbon. The study also mentions that by 2033, if Bitcoin demand and mining keep rising, it could defeat the goal of keeping global warming temperatures to an increase of 2 degrees Celsius.
However, while Bitcoin mining machines have used a lot of electricity and aided in pumping CO2 out into the atmosphere, they're getting better at reducing their carbon footprint. As Katrina Kelly-Pitou, a research associate at the University of Pittsburgh, mentioned, the world of Bitcoin mining is becoming more energy-efficient.
This is most notable by many large-scale operations moving from countries like China, that use fossil fuels for electricity to places like the United States that use significantly less and are in general, more environmentally friendly.
There's also the reality that the actual mining tools are drawing less power with every new generation. One reason this has become mainstream is that most people would avoid getting into the market due to the fact that they'd be paying such a large electric bill.
Overall, it all boils down to how fast technology can develop to reduce the power draw on a large scale. The next thing on the list would be ensuring that some form of sustainable and most of all, clean energy can be both developed and properly implemented into a country as a whole.