“Beat” virtual currency is not without damage to the planet and our health. The mining of bitcoins involves more and more massive CO2 releases. It remains to know how to green this creation of value and 100% digital exchange.
According to a recent study by researchers at the University of New Mexico, the mining of bitcoins would have a negative impact on the environment. Indeed, even if this currency remains virtual, its creation involves huge releases of pollutants into the atmosphere. This is because to validate each transaction, users are forced to solve increasingly complex cryptography algorithms that require gigantic computing power.
Environmental and human impact
Hence the creation of “mining camps”, in other words, installations of several hundred or thousands of computers working 24 hours a day, positioned not far from inexpensive energy sources, generally associated with fossil fuel. This results in a release of carbon dioxide, nitrogen and fine particles far from negligible.
The researchers also came to the conclusion that the cost of the damage generated by the birth of a single bitcoin corresponded to the exchange value of the latter. Adding that ” what is most striking in our study is that it shows that the price for human health and the environment, because of the cryptocurrency extraction, is huge .”
“Greening” the creation of bitcoins?
The negative impact on health and the Earth could be minimized by the use of less energy-consuming computer equipment as well as by green wind or hydroelectric energy sources. Mining camps could, for example, be positioned near large dams and solar farms.
Besides, why not pass the cost of these crypto-damages directly on their authors? It is still necessary to know how to proceed to calculate it as accurately as possible and to include it in the exploitation and the creation of these virtual currencies. A difficult political question that the authors of the study do not answer.