As much as crypto is benefitting the world with its power of decentralization, the method through which these are created – crypto mining, might add on to global warming. Specifically, the rate at which Bitcoin usage continues to grow, this alone can produce enough carbon emissions to raise global temperatures by almost 2 degrees Celsius as soon as 2033, a new study claims.
The study particularly highlights the fact that Bitcoin and other similar cryptocurrencies are generated or added to distributed ledger by running complex algorithms through a process called mining. And this process essentially demands a huge amount of electricity.
As stated by Randi Rollins, a master’s student at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in the US,
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency with heavy hardware requirements, and this obviously translates into large electricity demands
Notably, Carbon dioxide and methane are the primary greenhouse gases that have caused the Earth’s atmosphere to warm to levels that cannot be explained by natural causes.
In fact, just last year, bitcoin use produced 69 million tons of carbon dioxide, about equal to that of Austria. This statistics is enough to explain the contribution of bitcoin mining towards climate change.
Cryptocurrency has recently witnessed a massive global adoption. Keeping that in mind research author claim that if bitcoin is incorporated even at the slowest rate at which other technologies have been incorporated, its emissions will be enough to warm up the planet above 3.6 degrees F (2 degrees C) in just 22 years. If incorporated at the average rate of other technologies, Earth could reach that level in only 16 years.
As quoted by Camilo Mora, an associate professor at UH Manoa,
We cannot predict the future of Bitcoin, but if implemented at a rate even close to the slowest pace at which other technologies have been incorporated, it will spell very bad news for climate change and the people and species impacted by it
However, Michael Wilshire from Bloomberg is of the opinion that, Cryptocurrency is nowhere near mainstream yet and bitcoin is hardly used in everyday life. It would be unfair to compare potential bitcoin adoption with the previous consumer-technology.