Home Cryptocurrency Facing reality: Is Bitcoin bad for the environment?

Facing reality: Is Bitcoin bad for the environment?

Facing reality: Is Bitcoin bad for the environment?

Being a crypto investor is inevitably a learning process, given that a decade and a half ago the entire concept of cryptocurrencies barely existed. During that time, there has hardly been a moment when we could all sit back and learn everything about crypto and the blockchain, because we’ve had multiple financial crises, global political upheaval, a historically severe pandemic and any number of other changes. So it happens that people can be intrigued by the idea of digital currencies and not be fully informed about every aspect of their provenance and utility.

This is important because, if crypto is going to gain broader acceptance, it is going to need to take some account of the world into which it is trying to integrate. And it is going to be hard for crypto investors to convince others to join in because of another of the issues that is demanding global attention right now: climate change. It’s a widely-told fact that Bitcoin mining uses a lot of energy, which isn’t ideal on a planet that we are trying to cool. So crypto holders need to be ready for those criticisms from environmentalist campaigners – and that means dealing with the facts about Bitcoin.

Yes, Bitcoin is a high-energy currency

There’s no getting around it – mining Bitcoin uses a lot of energy. Statistics have shown that the mining of this one cryptocurrency can use more energy in a year than some countries. And we’re not talking about small countries. In one year, mining Bitcoin accounted for more energy use than Belgium. That’s the Belgium that is home to NATO and the Council of Europe among other supranational organisations. Many crypto-supporting organisations, including online crypto casinos, are turning attention towards rival currencies like Ethereum, which are less demanding. This isn’t likely to terminally hurt Bitcoin, but it has slowed it.

No, it won’t always be that way 

There will be a point where all the Bitcoins in the world will have been mined. At that point, there will be no more mining to be done – every Bitcoin that will ever exist will have been mined and it will just be being traded between owners. The worry over the energy cost of mining is a problem with its own solution baked in, and the mining reward is already dropping meaning the energy use will too. Then there is the fact that Bitcoin mining is an agile industry – it can, and does, take account of surplus energy that is already produced, as well as energy from renewable sources.

Also, Bitcoin isn’t the only cryptocurrency

There are hundreds of cryptocurrencies out there, and dozens that are widely enough used to be featured by leading exchanges and crypto businesses. Some of these are mined in much the same way as Bitcoin, but others are produced differently. Since its recent merge, Ether uses less than a percentage point as much energy as it used to. While there is no likely move from Bitcoin to become a Proof of Stake cryptocurrency, some of the energy burden from crypto has gone away, and the rest is reaching a point where it will no longer be an issue.