Cryptocurrencies represent a huge environmental burden for our planet. The most popular cryptocurrency in the world is bitcoin, and in one year this cryptocurrency produces an amount of electronic waste that is comparable to the production of waste throughout the Netherlands.

What is the carbon footprint of bitcoin?

It has not yet been studied in detail how large the carbon footprint of the cryptocurrency is. Thanks to a new study published in the journal Resources, Conservation and Recycling, a methodology has emerged for estimating the amount of waste produced by bitcoin. Cryptocurrency mining equipment does not have a long service life. The lifespan of the ASIC chips used is estimated at about 1.29 years. These chips are constantly being replaced by newer and more efficient ones.

“As a result, we estimate that the whole bitcoin network currently cycles through 30.7 metric kilotons of equipment per year,” the researchers wrote. “This number is comparable to the amount of small IT and telecommunication equipment waste produced by a country like the Netherlands.”

Bitcoins produce extreme amounts of electronic waste

This is a huge amount of waste, 1 kiloton is 1 million kilograms, ie 2.2 million pounds. According to scientists, each bitcoin transaction will generate at least 272 grams of electronic waste. According to the Guardian portal, this is roughly the weight of 2 iPhone 12 Minis. Can you imagine how many bitcoin transactions take place each day? In 2020 alone, 112.5 million bitcoin transactions took place. Electronic waste is not harmless, it can release various chemicals and heavy metals into the soil. The amount of electronic waste varies as the price of bitcoin changes.

The amount of electrical waste produced is likely to increase

If the price of bitcoin continues to rise, the amount of electronic waste may increase to 64.4 metric kilotons. The current mining process is very burdensome for our planet and we need to find an alternative that is more sustainable. Since there are a large number of cryptocurrencies, try to imagine the huge amount of electronic waste that all cryptocurrencies produce. Are cryptocurrencies really something the current world can’t do without?


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