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Bitcoin’s Environmental Costs – Delving into the Unpopular

The ever speculative Bitcoin Market is rife with debates on pros, cons and environmental impact. As the volatile market sees a section of people arguing that the benefits come at a price. In addition, the price is environmental degradation. Thus, it is only natural for researchers to assess what the price is.

A group of researchers, recently, stated that impact – past and future – is lower that prior estimates. The report is in ACS’ Environmental Science and Technology.

Understanding the Mining Process:

Traditionally, banks keep records of data in centralized location. But, in Bitcoin mining, we store data digitally. And, the form of this data is that of blocks in a chain. Besides, a network of peers keeps it. Mining occurs via special computers. Here, mathematical puzzle exists and it needs solving. The person, who solves, wins, and gets to add the next block of data. And, the person gets Bitcoin.

Here it is noteworthy that the process of mining uses up a large amount of electricity. Moreover, it is because special computers need high power to run. But, so far data was not accurate. Thus, Suzanne Kohler and Massimo Pizzol assessed lifecycle to show total environmental impact.

Result of Experimentation:

Basically, this includes estimates of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions and electricity use on every stage of mining bitcoins. This includes everything from raw material extraction and equipment manufacturing to use and recycling.

In 2018, as per findings, mining generated a total of 17.3 megatrons of CO2 equivalent and 31.3 terawatt-hours of electricity. Majority of this impact – 99% – comes from mining equipment. And, production and recycling produced least impact.

Also, miner’s location plays a part. As, miners from places that have fossil fuel use as main source of electricity generation, contribute more to this negative impact.

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