World 31-10-2018

Bitcoin, the great environmental threat

A new study determines that the bitcoin virtual currency would raise global warming by two degrees by 2033.

This could catapult the planet to alarming levels of global warming if the cryptocurrency market continues to grow rapidly according to the study published this week in Nature Climate Change .

The environmental impact of bitcoin is one of the latent risks. But, why is it a virtual currency?

The growth of bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency in the world , requires a process of computer support and maintenance, called "mining", which consumes an exaggerated amount of energy.

A bitcoin transaction consumes 275 kilowatts per hour of electricity, equivalent to a 100-watt light bulb turned on for 10 hours. However, the annual energy consumption is 30 terawatts, equivalent to more energy than that consumed by 159 countries in the world or 0.13 percent of the total world energy consumption in a year.

Translated from the virtual to the real, if the bitcoin were a country, it would occupy the 61st place in terms of electricity consumption.

This, due to the required power of the computers and systems to maintain the bitcoin block chain unaltered, that is, the virtual cryptographic backup or mine.

"This cryptocurrency requires heavy hardware, and this obviously means more electricity," says Randi Rollins, author of the scientific paper and researcher at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA.

With these projections and conclusions, the creation of bitcoins in the not too distant future could require all the energy that is consumed worldwide. Which does not seem a very sustainable situation neither from the ecological point of view, nor from the financial point of view.

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