Two American researchers want to raise awareness about the environmental impact of this new sector of the economy.
Mining a cryptocurrency for a certain value in dollars demands up to three times more energy than the extraction of gold for the same value in the US currency, reveals a new study publishedin the journal Nature Sustainability this November 5. In addition, if we refer only to the bitcoin , the energy consumption for its global mining has exceeded that of entire nations in recent years.
The decentralized cryptocurrency calls are a kind of locomotives of technological progress, which set in motion an unknown number of 'farms' of servers managed by an unknown number of cryptographic machines that work around the clock.
However, the environmental impact of this huge demand for processing capacities has not yet been fully calibrated, say US researchers and authors of the work Max Krause and Thabet Tolaymat. "Now we have a completely new industry that consumes more energy per year than many countries," Krause told AFP.
For example, Denmark consumed 31,400 million kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2015. By July 1 of this year, that is, in its first semester, bitcoin mining used approximately 30,100 million kilowatts . Another estimate of the energy value of the operations with the bitcoin in the world is that in 2017 they were similar to the annual electricity consumption of Ireland.
Cryptocurrency mining can be done with individual devices, but it is done more often on farms that hold hundreds or even thousands of computers , which perform huge calculations in search of the digital treasure. Some miners are paid generously and others badly. The 100 largest cryptocurrencies in the world have a combined market value of approximately 200,000 million dollars.