Mining cryptocurrency is a significant activity that requires maximum computing power, which draws large amounts of electricity. Such electricity usage can reach staggering levels, which could power cities and even states. Bitcoin mining causes roughly 40 billion pounds of carbon emissions in the USA alone.
Although it is important to Buy bitcoin at Paybis and invest in other cryptocurrencies, some countries see the environmental impact as too great a cost. Hence, steps are being implemented to change the approach to generating digital currencies.
This article explores what crypto mining really entails and how it affects our environment.
What is Cryptocurrency Mining?
Before we get into the cons of cryptocurrency mining on the environment, we should discuss what it entails.
Cryptocurrency mining is the primary process involved in generating cryptocurrencies. The process involves the joint activity of vast computing machines trying to solve a complex problem. These problems are usually meaningless, and the only merit at their completion is the reward of a cryptocurrency.
Let’s take the mining of Bitcoin, for example. The mining device that successfully solves the challenge in Bitcoin’s algorithm is rewarded with Bitcoin. This is then verified via blockchain technology.
Miners naturally seek better and faster mining devices to enhance their chances of earning the reward as long as it is high enough. The price of Bitcoin measures the value of the reward. The cycle continues as new mining machines enter the struggle. Hence, the computing task becomes even more complex. This, in turn, raises the amount of power necessary to earn the reward.
How Crypto Mining Affects the Environment
To understand the environmental effects of crypto mining, we first had to understand how new cryptocurrency coins are created. Since a centralized body doesn’t govern cryptocurrencies, the blockchain needs users to confirm transactions and update the blockchain with new data blocks.
To guard against external hackers or outside interference, these blockchains must be extremely challenging and expensive to authenticate. This is where most cryptocurrencies include proof of work.
Proof of work is a general technique that enables users to validate bitcoin and other crypto transactions by resolving a difficult mathematical problem. The transaction is authenticated, and a predetermined amount of cryptocurrency is awarded to the first user who solves the problem. The cycle starts again and goes on and on to keep on generating cryptocurrency the same way it takes to keep producing dirty bikes.
Although proof of work is the most popular validation method, not all digital currencies in the cryptocurrency market require it. In the U.S., where 35.4% of Bitcoin mining occurs, this is a serious environmental hazard. That’s why China banned cryptocurrency mining in 2021 to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions.
The Future of Crypto and the Environment
Like the mining industry, the cryptocurrency mining sector has major environmental consequences due to the energy-intensive mining required. However, unlike the mining sector, cryptocurrency is making strides to change its operations.
Despite breakthroughs in other means of bitcoin generation, proof-of-work mining shows no signs of decreasing. The stopgap solution is shifting mining activities away from places like the United States and toward countries with fewer carbon footprints and green energy generation options.
In the future, all digital currencies may not have to use proof of work. However, certain parts of the cryptocurrency investing business are moving away from proof of work due to its effect on the environment. Ethereum markets have started shifting from proof of work towards the proof of stake method of generation.
There’s no doubt that continuous crypto mining is unsafe for the environment. The use of proof of work and its carbon dioxide emissions is the principal reason for this environmental hazard. However, with research and the usage of other alternative methods of mining underway, there’s hope that the crypto generation will no longer pose a threat to the environment.
James is the head of marketing at Tamoco