The latest blockchain news focuses on the heavy trading losses of cryptocurrencies, which seem to have entered a crypto winter. However, little is discussed about another matter of vital importance, which is the impact of this technology on the environment, especially when the effects of climate change are beginning to be more and more evident.
According to a study by Alex de Vries and Christian Stoll, economists at the Dutch Central Bank and researchers at MIT, one bitcoin transaction would generate the same amount of waste as throwing away two smartphones.
Tekneo has analyzed the figures and stated that “the study indicates that in 2020 alone, 112.5 million bitcoin transactions were carried out and each of them produced 272 g of electronic waste. That is, the weight of two iPhone 12 Mini”.
This data does not present a good picture and raises serious questions about the environmental viability of cryptocurrencies. The analysis adds that “Bitcoin, in total, would generate 30.7 kilotons of waste annually. This figure is comparable to the amount of electronic waste that can be produced in the Netherlands. This is because the computers used to mine cryptocurrencies have a very short lifespan. Therefore, each transaction is a fatal blow to these types of computers, which are only used for this purpose”.
The Impacto Tic website focuses on the environmental cost of cryptocurrency mining continues by saying that “given that mining can be done with graphics cards or with Asic –dedicated hardware–, this means that sometimes you have hundreds or thousands of graphics cards working 24/7. 7 to find cryptocurrencies. The problem is that these cards consume a lot of energy, especially if they are used for long periods of time. China, for example, accounts for 65% of current bitcoin mining computational power.”
In short, for mining to give results, it is convenient to have several computers on 24 hours a day, it is necessary to take into account the necessary energy, the hardware used and discarded, the necessary cooling and, finally, all the non-electrical elements used for the devices.