Bitcoin mining could undermine China’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions

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  • One Bitcoin transaction is equivalent to burning 75 gallons of gasoline.
  • China accounts for more than 75% of the BTC network’s hashing power.
  • Research published in Nature Communications says crypto mining activities will gradually grow and peak in 2024 at 296.59 Terawatt-hours of energy (TWh) per year.

The energy consumption related to cryptocurrency mining is a topic of debate among critics and advocates of these digital assets. Minting one Bitcoin requires a lot of  electricity, which is at odds with the global movement to reduce carbon emissions. 

Bitcoin energy consumption might be a problem

A study conducted by Cambridge University indicates that Bitcoin mining accounts for approximately 130 Terawatt-hours of energy (TWh), equivalent to 0.6% of the world’s electricity consumption.  

In simpler words, Bitcoin uses more electricity per year than Argentina.

Brad Garlinghouse, Ripple’s CEO, maintains that “one Bitcoin transaction is equivalent to 75 gallons of gasoline being burned.” 

Meanwhile, Janet Yellen, U.S. Treasury Secretary said, Bitcoin represents an “extremely inefficient way of conducting transactions, and the amount of energy that’s consumed in processing those transactions is staggering.”

Bitcoin mining affects China’s carbon emissions reduction targets

A study by Chinese academics published in Nature Communications states that increased energy consumption by Bitcoin mining activity in China could counteract the country’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

The researchers performed a data simulation and estimated that Bitcoin mining activity in China will gradually grow and peak at  296.59 TWh in 2024, generating roughly 130.50 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s commitment to tackle climate change could result in a crackdown on the crypto mining industry in the nation. Since China accounts for more than 75% of the Bitcoin network’s hashing power, its plans to cut down carbon dioxide emissions by over 65% by 2030 may be undermined. 

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