A new research suggested that the climate damage as a share of cryptocurrency market price was equal to that of coal.
Between 2016 and 2021 the Bitcoin mining, the most popular of cryptocurrencies, caused over 12 billion dollars environmental damage to the environment. The mining is more polluting than cattle breeding and comparable to oil extraction according to the University of New Mexico researchers who published in Scientific Reports magazine.
Cryptocurrency production involves a a mechanism necessary to make the market proliferate and without which the entire Bitcoin system would implode. It requires the use of computers committed to making simple but very long calculations that are gradually more difficult as they grow. the number of Bitcoins in circulation.
Calculation requires enormous energy. For example, according to the study, in 2020 Bitcoin production consumed 75.4 Terawatt (TWh) hours of electricity globally, more than the annual Austria, Italy and a quarter of Italy's consumption combined. The CO2 emissions produced by their extraction have risen 126 times over time, from 0.9 tons per single Bitcoin in 2016 to 113 in 2021. An overall the emissions produced between 2016 and 2021 would be equivalent to damage estimated at over 12 billions of dollars.
By relating the emissions produced by Bitcoins with their market value, the researchers estimated that in May 2020, the climatic damage inflicted by the extraction of a single Bitcoin exceeded the price of the coin by 50 per cent. On average, the environmental costs of Bitcoins represent 35 per cent of their market value, an amount close to the impact of oil extraction (41 per cent).