As is well known, the mining, or the calculation activity aimed at the extraction of cryptocurrency, involves a considerable energy expenditure. Precisely on the proportions of this consumption, therefore, a considerable debate has opened over the past few months, also in the wake of renewed attention to environmental issues.
A discussion has now arrived in the ongoing discussion new study that seems destined to move the terms of the same, as it would at least partially contradict what has been argued so far.
The report published by The New Scientist
Mining for the Bitcoin incompatible with the fight against climate change? It really seems not, according to at least the data contained within one study written by Susanne Köhler and Massimo Pizzol, two researchers from Aalborg University, a Danish university.
To publish the study was the magazine The new scientist and the data contained in it quite clearly denies the assumption that the annual energy consumption for mining is equivalent to 63 megatonnes of CO2 per year. The estimate in question is based on the hypothesis that the carbon emissions deriving from the production of electricity are similar throughout the Chinese territory, i.e. the country that continues to hold a very significant share of the Bitcoin mining total. The calculations made by the two researchers, however, lead to a very different conclusion, according to which by analyzing in detail the Chinese data taking into account the diversity between one region and another, you get an estimated carbon footprint of 17,29 megatonnes of CO2 issued in the 2018. A pretty sensational conclusion and destined to significantly change the framework in which the discussion has taken place so far.
To try to understand how these discrepancies came about, it is enough to find the region of Inner Mongolia, where the energy model is based on coal mining, it is responsible for 12,3% of Bitcoin's total mining, in practice 25% of total emissions. A share which is offset by the reverse trend recorded by the region of Sichuan, where the use of hydroelectric energy is predominant.
Other data to consider
If in the past months the assertion of researchers fromUniversity of Hawaii, according to which mining could lead to a average temperature increase of two degrees centigrade from here to the 2033, thus frustrating the Paris section, it must be underlined how other scholars consider this alarm completely overestimated.
To push them on this path is the finding that the consumption necessary for BTC mining is equivalent to 0,36% of the annual consumption globally. A datum therefore that would not move the terms of the problem much, in one sense or another. Without then taking into account the fact that over 70% of the energy consumed for mining comes from renewable sources and that the devices used for this purpose are less and less energy-consuming.
While it would probably be more profitable to point the finger at poor Bitcoin efficiency compared to other forms of payment. Just think that a single transaction that sees the use of BTC consumes the same amount of energy needed for 400 thousand transactions made using the credit card instead. A figure on which it would be appropriate to reflect more carefully.