The energy consumption caused by the mining of bitcoin and from any other cryptocurrency it has become a problem for these crypto assets. The environmental impact of this process has already caused many countries to take measures, such as prohibiting mining, or limiting it. Now this could have a solution.
In accordance with Guardianthe campaign called Change the Code Not the Climate (Change the code, not the climate) and coordinated by the Environmental Working Group, Greenpeace USA and various groups fighting against bitcoin mining facilities in their communities, ask bitcoin to change form how bitcoins are mined to address their massive carbon footprint.
The reality is that many cryptocurrencies are already trying to cushion the blow of cryptocurrency mining. Without going any further, ethereum is changing to another system (proof of stake) that you think will reduce your energy use by 99%.
In fact, in a study conducted in mid-2021 by Galaxy Digital, it is stated that bitcoin mining uses half the energy of the traditional banking system.
The study points out that the energy consumption of the entire bitcoin network is 113.89 terawatts per hour. Of the total, 99%, they explain, comes from the computers that are mining bitcoin. In turn, the Cambridge Alternative Finance Center estimated, in March 2021, consumption at 128 terawatts per hour.
Taking these calculations for granted, and taking into account that the energy consumption of the traditional banking system is 263.72 terawatts per hour, it can be concluded that bitcoin consumes less than half the energy of the banking system.
Change of leadership and code
In recent months, China has taken very severe measures against the mining of these crypto assets, which has caused a change of leadership in the sector, now it is the United States that has the most active cryptocurrency mining in the world.
“Coal plants that were idled or were going to be closed are being reactivated and dedicated exclusively to bitcoin mining. Gas plants, which in many cases were becoming less and less economically competitive, are also turning to bitcoin mining. We’re seeing this across the country,” Michael Brune, campaign manager and former Sierra Club executive director, told TheGuardian.
In fact, according to data released by the campaign, bitcoin mining is already consumes as much energy as Swedenbut all this could change with a simple change in the way it is encoded.
In any case, without a change to the code, the fundamental problem will remain that bitcoin’s code “incentivizes maximum energy use,” according to Chris Larsen, founder and CEO of crypto firm Ripple and a climate activist.