Blockchain and Crypto, Member Exclusive

Crypto is going mainstream — can it go green as well?

  • Crypto use is booming.
  • But its effects on the environment raise concern.
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Crypto is going mainstream — can it go green as well?

Crypto may be on its way to going mainstream, but there are still a ton of questions about how its use will impact the environment.

At the moment, Bitcoin alone is using 0.58% of the planet’s electricity — more than all of Argentina combined. Mining of this cryptocurrency produces 36.95 megatons of carbon dioxide annually. In 30 years, Bitcoin on its own could raise global temperatures by 2 degrees Celsius, or 35.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

Another thing to mention is e-waste. When mining machines are replaced with newer models, the older ones are pretty much abandoned. And because they can’t be recycled, they create damage instead.

“Every year mining pools update their millions of ASIC mining machines to newer models,” said Dr. Peter Howson, lecturer at Northumbria University with expertise in blockchain-based environmental management. “The redundant ones can’t be repurposed, so the hazardous e-waste is usually dumped on countries in the global south.” 


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