Bitcoin is helping to destroy the environment

If the environment is being harmed then so are animals. And if people are responsible for that harm then this article is about the animal-human relationship. I don’t understand bitcoins but I do know they have to be mined by computers. I guess the word “mining” in this instance does not mean what we normally think it means. However, it requires energy and apparently the amount of energy it requires is astonishing.

Bitcoin. Photo: Pixabay.

Depending on the source of information, the computers that mine and service bitcoins use between 0.3 and 1% of the world’s entire electricity supply. The eggheads at Cambridge University estimated that the bitcoin currency consumes about as much power as the Netherlands annually. If that is correct we can say that only 30 countries burn through more energy every year.

In another astonishing statistic, it is said that each bitcoin transaction uses the same amount of power as the average American household consumes in an entire month. By comparison, a Visa transaction uses about a million times less energy. And yet nobody (a few?), until The Times newspaper, ever attempted to transmit this information to the public. I’ve never seen it mentioned before but we have seen a lot of criticism of cafés, for example, in using disposable coffee cups or the plastic pollution that comes from so-called lifetime plastic bags which people are treating like ordinary plastic bags. That project, incidentally, is an abject failure.

In defence, the people who manage bitcoins argue that the computer servers used to process online bitcoin are based in China’s Sichuan province where there is a plentiful supply of cheap hydropower and therefore the energy used is renewable.

Cambridge University estimate that only 39% of bitcoin’s energy consumption is green, however. This means that bitcoin is contributing to global warming. It will get worse because bitcoin is becoming more valuable which makes them a good investment albeit a highly risky investment, which in turn leads to more people buying bitcoins. This means more energy usage and more global warming.

And what’s so bad about it is that it just simply feeds the rich so they get richer and allows the criminals to hide their criminal takings. It’s a double whammy on the negative side. It is an unethical investment of the most gross kind. Let’s start a discussion about how bitcoin is destroying the environment.

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