As the popularity of the world’s largest cryptocurrency grows, the energy consumption and subsequent environmental damages also continues to accelerate.
According to data published by Cambridge University, bitcoin’s power consumption is expected to hit 95.68 terawatt-hours (TW/h) before the end of the year, which astonishingly equates to the total power consumption of the Philippines. A similar report by Bloomberg found that the bitcoin network has already consumed more than the 67 TW/h previously estimated for the entirety of 2020.
However, it appears that bitcoin’s growing energy appetite is not only contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. Electronic waste is increasingly piling up, as cryptocurrency miners seek newer and faster computers, causing a high turnover and an accumulating e-waste problem. A recent study by Science Direct suggests that “bitcoin could produce up to 64.4 metric kilotons [64,400 tons] of e-waste at peak bitcoin price levels seen in early 2021.”
Paris-based economist Alex de Vries, who was cited by the Economic Times, estimates that the computational power of mining machines doubles each year, making older mining hardware obsolete. Vries calculated that bitcoin is responsible for creating more e-waste than entire midsize countries alone. “Bitcoin miners are completely ignoring this issue, because they don’t have a solution,” Vries said. “These machines are just dumped.”
Information for this briefing was found via Cambridge University and the companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.