The rising number of participants engaged in bitcoin transactions in recent months has drawn attention to the costs of electricity consumed in bitcoin mining. Researchers at the University of Cambridge conducted an analysis of the amount of electricity used by miners on a global level. They came out with a report stating that currently, bitcoin BTC uses electricity that roughly equals the amount of electricity used by Argentina.
The findings validate the increasing concerns over the size of the carbon footprint generated by the bitcoin mining industry and its effect on global efforts to bring down CO2 emissions to zero level.
BTC miners continuously verify the validity of blockchain transactions published in the blockchain ledger. The analysis tool used by the Cambridge researchers revealed that the bitcoin mining industry annually consumes as much as 121.36 terawatt-hours (TWh). The amount even slightly surpassed Argentina’s annual electricity consumption of 121 TWh. It also exceeded the annual consumptions of the United Arab Emirates and Netherlands, at 113.20 TWh and 108.8 TWh, respectively
The overall estimated proportion of the energy used by the bitcoin mining industry is placed at 0.56% of the global energy consumption. Inside a Bitcoin Mining Farm alone, specialized mining machines fill entire units of warehouses. At the same time, servers typically run 24/7 to carry out the verifications performed by miners.
Based on a related 2019 study, the bitcoin mining industry back then was already producing about 22 megatons of Carbon Dioxide emissions annually; roughly equivalent to the yearly CO2 emissions produced by Las Vegas.
The greater concern is that since the price of bitcoin is now valued at more than $48,000, there is a massive number of machines running simultaneously to solve hash puzzles in order to earn a block reward of 6.25 BTCs. This equates to an equivalent gross profit of $300,000 ($48K x 6.25 BTCs).
That is why all bitcoin mining machines, actively participating worldwide, whether home-based, part of a mining pool or inside bitcoin mining farms are all in a tight race to find and solve as many blocks of transactions as they can on a daily basis. Not to forget, the servers used by bitcoin miners to connect to the blockchain network also uses electrical power. .
Cambridge Study Also Drew Attention to Tesla’s Contradicting Stance on CO2 Reduction Missions
According to one of the researchers, Michael Rausch, who also co-created the BTC-electricity consumption analysis tool, the rising trend cannot be expected to change course in the near future. Not unless a significant price drop in Bitcoin price occurs, which is unlikely to happen.
Elon Musk’s electric car manufacturing company Tesla, recently acquired a substantial $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin assets. The electric car company also announced future plans to accept BTC as payments. While the move all the more sparked interest in bitcoin trading and mining, critics are quick to point out that it contradicts Musk’s supposed support for movements aimed at reducing global CO2 emissions. His Tesla electric cars are being touted as likely solution, toward achieving environmental improvements.
Apparently, when Biden’s government launches projects and invests on programs that will see to the phasing out of petrol-fueled cars, electric cars will be promoted as alternatives, Tesla, on the other hand, will continue to be part of those who contribute to CO2 emissions by accepting cryptocurrency payments that leave carbon footprints in the environment.