Cryptocurrencies emerged a few years back, but environment experts have become increasingly concerned about their impact on climate.
Experts at the University of Hawaii at Manoa that published a paper in the journal Nature Climate Change found that if Bitcoin mining continues at the same rate as other common technologies, it could raise the global temperatures by two degrees Celsius till 2033.
They analyzed emissions information obtained from different stages of the Bitcoin mining chain and found that cryptocurrency mining produces enough emissions that will raise the critical temperature of the planet.
The severity of the problem could be understood by the fact that an increase in temperature around 1.5 degrees Celsius will lead to irreversible, catastrophic climate effects on the planet.
Given that Bitcoin mining comes with heavy hardware requirements, it consumes massive amounts of energy. So the researchers analyzed information such as power efficiency of computers used in cryptocurrency mining, geographical location of Bitcoin miners and carbon dioxide emissions produced in those countries.
They found that in 2017 alone, Bitcoin mining and transactions together emitted 69 million metric tons of CO2. At present, only emissions from transportation, housing, and food are seen as the major contributors to global warming.
But the results of the research shows that cryptocurrency mining should also be added to the list — even though the future of cryptocurrencies cannot be predicted just yet, as the industry has seen many ups and downs.
We now know that if bitcoin is adopted at a rate that is even close to the slowest pace of major technologies such as credit cards, car, or ACs, it will change the environment as we know it.
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