Bitcoin and its environmental implications have recently been in the news thanks to Elon Musk. Confused about how virtual currency leaves a carbon footprint?
A few years ago, this was already a prevalent conversation. Phys.org published an article, “Energy-intensive Bitcoin transactions pose a growing environmental threat,” where the author referenced:
A study published in Energy Research & Social Science warns that failure to lower the energy use by Bitcoin and similar Blockchain designs may prevent nations from reaching their climate change mitigation obligations under the Paris Agreement.
The article goes on to say that the study was published by Jon Truby, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Director of the Centre for Law & Development, College of Law, Qatar University, Doha, Qatar.
The point of the study was to:
evaluate the financial and legal options available to lawmakers to moderate blockchain-related energy consumption and foster a sustainable and innovative technology sector.
In fact, as a result of the research Jon Truby and team forwarded that:
an approach that imposes new taxes, charges, or restrictions to reduce demand by users, miners, and miner manufacturers who employ polluting technologies, and offers incentives that encourage developers to create less energy-intensive/carbon-neutral Blockchain should be promoted.
In fact Dr Truby went on to say that:
Digital currency mining is the first major industry developed from Blockchain, because its transactions alone consume more electricity than entire nations. It needs to be directed towards sustainability if it is to realize its potential advantages.
Adding to his comments, Dr. Truby furthered that:
Many developers have taken no account of the environmental impact of their designs, so we must encourage them to adopt consensus protocols that do not result in high emissions. Taking no action means we are subsidizing high energy-consuming technology and causing future Blockchain developers to follow the same harmful path. We need to de-socialize the environmental costs involved while continuing to encourage progress of this important technology to unlock its potential economic, environmental, and social benefits.
According to the author, the energy needed for one single blockchain transaction could power a normal British home for a month. It is incredible to think of the potential energy needs here. Is there such a thing as a carbon neutral blockchain technology?
Reality Changing Observations:
1. Have you invested in Bitcoin?
2. Do you think there should be an environmental tax on harvesting Bitcoin?
3. How ethical is it for developing countries to allow for energy to be consumed for purpose of mining Bitcoin?