Few bitcoin mining software reddit league use bitcoin to buy anything — but everyone pays for its environmental impact. Does mining the cryptocurrency actually consume more electricity than Ireland?
COM has chosen English as your language setting. Is Germany’s political left coming apart at the seams? For Gold Rush prospectors in 1860s California, profits came before the planet. Money-hungry miners devastated fields and waterways with hydraulic mining technology as they covered fertile farmland with silts and sediments. Forests were hacked down and rivers dammed dry — all for the prize of precious gold nuggets. Fast forward 150 years, and some Silicon Valley successors are treading similarly mucky tracks.
Critics call the currency dirty for a simple reason. Each bitcoin — a virtual nugget buried under near-impenetrable algorithms — takes huge computational energy to ‘mine’. That puts it in the same league as entire nation states, sandwiched somewhere between Serbia and Denmark. Digiconomist’s analysis is not the first to compare bitcoin’s electricity draw to a country — mathematicians at Maynooth University pegged this as high as Ireland’s in 2014 — but it is perhaps the most-cited. Back in July, entrepreneur Marc Bevand had it at around a quarter. And in January, Harald Vranken of the Open University put it even lower still.