Between the popularity of NFTs and Bitcoin, cryptocurrency has been skyrocketing over the past couple of years. This development isn’t serving the environment well, and accelerates climate change.
The power required to “mine” cryptocurrency is staggering, and the mining process is harmful to the environment. Cryptocurrency can be mined in more sustainable ways, and it should be regulated to ensure as little damage as possible.
Mining for cryptocurrency is defined by Fair Planet as “the process of creating, or ‘winning,’ new Bitcoins by solving increasingly difficult mathematical puzzles.” Which doesn’t sound too damaging, until you look at the energy required for the process.
There are different forms of cryptocurrency, some pulling more energy than others. Bitcoin is notably the most popular, and most harmful, form.
Bitcoin mining racks up 96 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions yearly, according to Fair Planet. That’s equal to what some smaller countries — like Thailand — generate, according to cryptocurrency analytics site Digiconomist.
Many Bitcoin mining farms rely on fossil fuels to operate, but relying on renewable energy would prove to lessen the effects of cryptocurrency on climate change. They could diversify their power sources with hydropower, wind, solar or nuclear energies.
In February 2021, the crypto market was at 106 million users, according to Crypto.com’s 2021 study. Now, one year later, statistics show there are 300 million users, as stated by Earthweb’s 2022 report.
That’s a user increase of about 283%, which will only accelerate the rate at which cryptocurrency harms the Earth. This is alarming for cities that are already in a bad position environmentally, like Tampa.
Climate change can bring about more natural disasters through the increased heat it produces, which makes for droughts and more intense storms. This is because as water is evaporated into the atmosphere, it can further develop powerful storms, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
A more heated atmosphere and ocean surface only leads to increased wind speeds in tropical storms. The rising sea level will subject higher-located cities to the erosive forces of waves and currents. Tampa is one of those projected cities, according to a study conducted in 2021 by the City of Tampa.
Cryptocurrency has the chance to use more sustainable forms of energy to mine for coins. With the increasing demand, crypto farms should be more aware of the methods they’re using and avoid fossil fuels.