Bitcoins Pollute More Than Entire Nations: How Is This Possible?
To Validate Cryptocurrencies, A Lot Of Electricity Is Needed, More Than Finland Uses: This Is Why Bitcoins Pollute More Than Some Countries
There is no doubt: Bitcoins and all cryptocurrencies have changed the way money is produced and exchanged. They were born in 2008 as a method of transferring money without banks or states interfering in any way. However, the number of existing Bitcoins was not infinite: a way to increase its value. Today, a single Bitcoin is worth $ 50,000. But to find and exchange them you need a lot of electricity.
Why Do They Consume So Much Energy?
For Bitcoins to go from one person to another as a form of payment, they must be found and validated by someone: this someone, commonly known as a “miner”, earns 6.25 Bitcoins for each packet of Bitcoin he verifies as real and not counterfeit and places on the market. So the more cryptocurrency you find, the more you earn: to do this, however, you need a powerful computer that can work on very high calculation values. And a single pc is not enough to earn. Not to mention the cooling systems that keep computers from overheating.
This is how entire industrial warehouses full of computers were born whose sole purpose is to validate Bitcoin: gigantic data centres worldwide. For years they have mostly been in China, but now the United States is on the rise. Only 7 of these “mining groups” possess 80% of the computing power in the industry.
In addition to emissions, generating Bitcoins produces tons of electronic junk: every computer or device of the latest generation is thrown away.
A Few Numbers
Creating Bitcoin alone consumes roughly 91 terawatt-hours of electricity per year, more than Finland with its 5.5 million inhabitants. It consumes seven times more electricity than all of Google’s global operations. A third of the cooling systems in the United States are used for data centres where Bitcoins are generated.
Electricity production has increased tenfold in the past five years. The peak was reached in May 2021: for each coin extracted, at least 13 years of electricity consumption of a typical American family were consumed. Even the digital world is therefore not immune to pollution and the production of emissions.
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