Cryptocurrency mining contamination

✔️ Information reviewed and updated in June 2024 by Pedro Martínez González

Believe it or not, cryptocurrencies have a dark side like pollution. Although the future of money is considered by experts, because here what supports its value are encrypted chains of codes. These also have disadvantages that go beyond the simple instability of this digital currency.

One of the most striking negative points of these cryptocurrencies is the fact that they pollute. Yes, as it is to listen, cryptocurrencies are a source of pollution really important and doing good damage. Here we will tell you more about this topic so that you understand it perfectly.

▶ Cryptocurrency mining

Known as mining, this is the name given to the process of production and validation of the transactions of these cryptocurrencies. Basically Mining consists of solving a series of riddles or mathematical problems which allow the release of cryptocurrencies from the Blockchain.

The chains of algorithms that make up the Blockchain are becoming more and more complex, which makes the extraction or mining process difficult. This means that the consumption of resources is increasingly high, both for Software, Hardware and humans.

Although at the beginning it was enough to have a miner, a human, behind, as well as a computer, the complexity of the problems has made the resources to solve them become more robust. Now It is necessary to have specialized equipment which usually consists of processing cards, CPUs and special programs.

So to produce or mine cryptocurrencies today it is necessary to have a large number of CPUs, processors and cards running at the same time. This goes hand in hand with different computers which are in charge of executing all the processes making the operating cost high, at least in electrical energy.

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▶ The level of contamination of Cryptocurrency mining

As we already told you, to solve the riddles that cryptocurrencies keep within the Blockchain it is necessary to have a large amount of computer equipment working. This translates into a high energy consumption, without adding the necessary to cool the equipment and facilities.

By consuming electrical energy directly from the grid, this makes the plants have to increase their production thus increasing the use of fuels and pollution . According to a Digiconomist study in 2018, energy consumption for Bitcoin mining reached 73,12 TWh per year.

Energy consumption is so high that it exceeds the amount of energy used by countries like Denmark or Bulgaria. That's right, there are only 38 countries that consume more energy than all Bitcoin mining per year.

In addition to consuming energy to start up computer equipment, Cryptocurrency miners also consume energy for other uses. For example, the equipment requires air conditioning due to the large amount of heat they generate, as well as lighting for the facilities where the equipment is placed.

▶ Why do they pollute so much?

The energy consumption of cryptocurrencies is very high, so much so that many of us wonder why this happens? First of all, you should know that the mining process requires many computers working at the same time , so basically there are miles of computers working at once.

On the other hand, we have that the lack of regulations is another point to take into account, since in countries like India there are no laws around cryptocurrency mining. Basically there are hundreds and hundreds of cryptocurrency factories consuming a lot of energy at the same time.

Another reason that we must take into account is that conventional computer equipment is not used here. GPUs, graphics cards and processors both consume a lot of electricity, and they also generate a lot of heat. This requires installing air turbines to cool them and thus consume more energy.

It also takes into account that not only is it enough to turn on the computer and now, the use of many more resources is also involved. We see this, for example, with the installation of wiring, with the purchase of stationery, storage and more, which increases the carbon footprint.

▶ Cryptocurrencies that consume the most energy

  • Bitcoin: Bitcoin is the cryptocurrency that consumes the most energy according to experts. The data reveal that on average its consumption is between 55,63 and 73,12 TWh per year. This is because the most famous digital currency requires more powerful equipment to mine it.
  • Ethereum: The second most important cryptocurrency in the world, it is also the second that consumes the most energy. According to Xatakauna, this cryptocurrency only in the United States, consumed the equivalent of 65 million washing machines running at the same time . This translates into tons and tons of carbon in the environment.


▶ How to reduce pollution generated by mining?

If you are thinking of opening your own bitcoin mining or any other cryptocurrency, you should know that there are specialized techniques to reduce all energy consumption. Here we will tell you 3 tips that will help you with this.

  • Reduce additional energy consumption: As we already told you, to function many cryptocurrencies need additional equipment such as lighting and refrigeration. If you want to save energy you can bet on the use of LED bulbs, for example, as well as natural air flows to cool the spaces.
  • New generations of equipment: Another very frequent option to reduce energy consumption is in swap your old computer equipment for newer computers. There are new graphics cards, processors, GPUs, programmable chips and which have a much more efficient power consumption in order to pollute less.
  • Laws and compensation: Lastly, You can look for the local laws focused on compensating the damages caused by the pollution generated by your mining. . In the same way, you can pay offsets for carbon emissions which are used for actions focused on reversing and fighting climate change.
About the Author: Pedro Martinez Gonzalez

I'll tell you a little about myself! I am a financial analyst and economist with a master's degree in finance.
About my studies: I studied at the University of Salamanca for a Degree in Economics and then did a Master's in Finance in Madrid.
Do you want more information? You can read more about me here in my biography.

2 comments on «Cryptocurrency mining contamination»

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