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Bitcoin energy consumption – larger than Sweden’s

Cryptocurrencies are now huge business across the world and they have a massive environmental impact, larger than the CO2 emissions of many countries.

Today I read an article in The Guardian that stated:

Climate groups say a change in coding can reduce bitcoin energy consumption by 99%

The main input into the article came from a campaign called Change the Code Not the Climate which has analysed Bitcoin and the way it operates – from the way it is coded to where it gets its energy. The campaign has unearthed some staggering facts including:

  • Bitcoin uses more energy than all of Sweden
  • Bitcoin alone could help warm the planet more than 2 degrees
  • Bitcoin is resurrecting fossil fuels
  • A software code change would reduce Bitcoin’s energy use by 99.9%

Bitcoin uses an outdated technology to operate and as its price increases, its energy usage also rises. Bitcoin is often powered by coal power plants, which makes its environmental impact huge. In fact, previously closed coal power plants are being reopened in order to add the extra capacity required by Bitcoin mining.

However, crypto doesn’t necessarily need much energy to work. Many newer cryptocurrencies are low consumers of energy or carbon-neutral because they use a better model.

So that’s where this story is shocking but also reassuring. As with many issues with the environment, there is a way to minimise the impact, as point 4 above points out.

To read the points in detail and to sign the petition, click the link below: