An image of physical Bitcoin. Photo by: Karolina Grabowska / Pexels.com
An image of physical Bitcoin. Photo by: Karolina Grabowska / Pexels.com

An interesting debate that is currently being discussed is the environmental impact Bitcoin and cryptocurrency have around the globe.

As an environmentalist and someone that also supports cryptocurrency, I found myself conflicted with the current energy usage being used to mine and develop digital currency. The Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index is an excellent tool to see the data behind the energy usage of Bitcoin. The Guardian reports that the current impact Bitcoin has is comparable to the annual carbon footprint of Argentina.

In the second YouTube video, I have provided below by Tech Vision, they note that the current energy consumption to generate Bitcoin in Iceland, is equivalent to the total amount of energy needed to run Iceland. In comparison, the first video by HyperChange, notes that the renewable energy grid in development with Tesla will help offset the carbon emissions needed to mine cryptocurrency.

Personally, I do feel it is counterproductive in an environmental sense to have mining operations in cooler parts of the world to manage the temperature within the factories. At this time, I foresee the enhancement of solar power energy, along with the current trend for digital currency. The problem I see though is the environmental impact the miners will have over the next 20 years, and the advancement of solar grids within that time frame. Iceland is an excellent example of a country that needs financial assistance but will lack enforcement of environmental safety in order to balance its budget, along with the global climate.

The problem does not completely fall on Bitcoin miners though. Part of the solution can be found within an article by WIRED regarding the servers used at Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. It is interesting to note that Google is currently generating the most renewable energy for their servers. WIRED noted they have the following rating:

  • Overall Greenness: B+
  • Energy Efficiency: A+
  • Transparency: A
  • Technological Innovation: A
  • Total Renewable Energy Portfolio: 5.5 GW

It is my theory that any large-scale server operation should be held accountable in a similar manner as the tech giants to help reduce global warming.

Watch the following YouTube videos to gain insight on the future of cryptocurrency.