Environmental Effects Of Bitcoin
The growth of bitcoin is fueling speculation and debate about the environmental impact of the collective energy needed to power the virtual currency in the era of precipitation change.
Some questions and answers about the issue:
What is bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a consensus network that enables a new payment system and a completely digital money. It is the first decentralized peer-to-peer payment network that is powered by its users with no central authority or middlemen. From a user perspective, Bitcoin is pretty much like cash for the Internet.
The sustainability concerns about bitcoin, voiced by economists and environmentalists, stem from the process of “mining” that is central to its existence.
The “miners” use computers to make complex calculations that verify transactions in bitcoins. This uses a tremendous amount of energy via computers and server farms all over the world, which has given rise to concerns about the amount of fossil fuel-dependent electricity used to power the computers. Some estimates say bitcoin’s energy impact is more than that of a small country.
Why is bitcoin attractive?
Bitcoin is a kind of digital money that isn’t tied to a bank or a government, and its value has risen swiftly in the second half of 2017. The value of one bitcoin price is also volatile, though, and tailed off somewhat after coming close to $20,000 earlier in December. Why are critics concerned about bitcoin energy use?
Bitcoin can’t exist without computers, which can’t exist without a source of electricity. And the number of computers and the energy needed to power them is rising.
The growing value of bitcoin is directly tied to the amount of energy it uses. The miners unlock bitcoins by solving complex, unique puzzles. As the value of bitcoin goes up, the puzzles become increasingly more difficult, and it requires more computer power to solve them.
Some estimates say more than 60 percent of the processing power used to mine bitcoin is in China, where it relies heavily on the burning of coal.
Coal and other fossil fuels are also the largest generator of electricity for the rest of the world, and coal is a significant contributor to manmade climate change. Burning it produces carbon dioxide, a gas that is a primary contributor to global warming.
This reliance on fossil fuels has given rise to speculation that bitcoin’s energy consumption will continue to rise as it grows in popularity, said in an interview that the growth of virtual currencies such as bitcoin.