Making Bitcoin Green: What Can Be Done?
The craze around Bitcoin negatively affects the ecology of the planet and the mining of digital money is often condemned due to its harmful nature. Crypto market players are concerned about excessive power consumption, increased environmental pollution, and the scale of the carbon footprint left by mining. The negative ecological impact of mining is really significant.
What can be done in this situation? Some countries have banned the mining of cryptocurrencies and Tesla stopped selling electric cars for cryptocurrency since its production has a negative impact on the environment due to fossil fuels. That in turn has caused sharp fluctuations in Bitcoin’s price and affected the cryptocurrency market as a whole.
No wonder, a heated discussion arose around the problem, which produced several solutions.
Bitcoin’s growing energy problem
It’s all about the impact of mining on the environment and human health. The process of creating coins and registering transactions requires the same annual amount of electricity as a country the size of Argentina, Kazakhstan, or the Netherlands. Such conclusions have been reached by researchers from the University of Cambridge. And it is believed to unlikely decrease in the near future. Also, scientists predict that due to mining, the average temperature could rise by 2 degrees. Although experts find it difficult to estimate exactly how much CO2 Bitcoin mining releases, they all agree that cryptocurrency causes serious damage to the environment.
Mining also negatively affects health. Scientists have found that a high concentration of CO2 can cause weakness, dizziness, headache, problems with concentration, and negative changes in the blood. Some researchers believe that carbon dioxide in large quantities may lead to cancer.
The Greenpeace organization has also expressed concerns about the dangers of mining for the environment many times. It has been predicted that by 2024 the greenhouse effect from mining farms located in China might exceed that of the Philippines. However, China tackled the problem by cracking down on the whole crypto mining industry in the country.
That is why eco talks around mining cryptocurrencies are all the rage. As a result, alternative ways of mining and “green” or ecological mining emerge. Now, there are a number of initiatives to reduce the environmental damage from crypto mining.
Gemini Green initiative
Gemini Green is a climate-conscious initiative that implements environmentally friendly practices for dealing with crypto assets. The project aims to regulate the energy used by miners, so the company purchased an emission permit that amounts to $4 million.
This initiative has become the prerequisite for the creation of advanced carbon dioxide removal technologies that will speed up the elimination of carbon from the atmosphere. Gemini is the world’s first crypto-platform to offset carbon emissions. It is unclear whether other exchanges will follow the lead, as the question “who should pay for carbon footprint: exchanges or miners?” remains open.
Volcano for Bitcoin mining in Salvador
El Salvador was the first country to legalize Bitcoin, but now we are going to talk about another achievement — the world’s first “green” volcanic-powered Bitcoin mining farm. The President of El Salvador recently urged to use the energy of volcanoes for mining and start production of bitcoins using renewable volcanic energy. The first mining equipment was installed in September.
The country’s authorities call this method of generating cryptocurrency environmentally friendly. The President of El Salvador says the new plant will be “100% environmentally friendly, 100% renewable, and no harmful waste”. If this project succeeds, humanity will receive another environmentally friendly method of mining.
Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum, sees the solution to the environmental problems of Bitcoin in reducing carbon emissions from miners. He believes that Bitcoin, like Ethereum, needs to move to Proof-of-Stake. Switching to the PoS algorithm will reduce the carbon footprint and it is a solution to the environmental problems of Bitcoin, which requires far fewer resources to keep mining operations going. PoS can improve environmental efficiency since this algorithm does not require high energy consumption or significant computing power.
According to preliminary calculations, the transition to the PoS algorithm will make the energy efficiency of the Ethereum system 7000 times higher than the Bitcoin one. Full transition to Ethereum 2.0 is expected to be concluded at the beginning of 2022.
Other ecological mining methods
Ecomining suggests the use of renewable energy sources. So, the only way to reduce the environmental damage from cryptocurrency mining is to employ alternative electricity — wind energy (wind turbines), geothermal energy, solar energy (solar panels), hydropower (hydropower plants).
Green mining is becoming a promising direction for the development of the blockchain industry. Miners strive to survive in a highly competitive environment and the cheapest way to get energy is to utilize renewable energy sources.
So, we see that there is every chance to make the mining of cryptocurrency completely environmentally friendly. The question is which way will each country choose to make mining green.