Bitcoin Capable of Increasing Global Warming Above Two Degree Celsius

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Researchers from University of Hawaii at Manoa suggested that Bitcoin could produce enough emissions to raise global temperatures by 2°C by 2033

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that requires heavy hardware for mining, which in turn increases demand for electricity. This phenomenon is also applicable to cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin such as Ripple, EOS, and NEO. Bitcoin purchases create transactions that are recorded and processed by miners. These transactions made in a particular time frame are later grouped into a block, which is added to the chain, a public ledger. Miners compete to decipher a computationally demanding proof-of-work in exchange for bitcoins and this verification process requires large amounts of electricity.

Now, a team of researchers of College of Social Sciences, University of Hawaii at Manoa suggested that implementation of Bitcoin at similar rates at which other technologies have been incorporated can produce enough emissions to increase global temperatures by 2°C by 2033. The team analyzed information such as the power efficiency of computers used by Bitcoin mining, the geographic location of the miners, and the CO2 emissions of producing electricity in those countries. The data revealed that the use of bitcoins in 2017 emitted 69 million metric tons of CO2.

The team found that incorporation of Bitcoin at even the slowest rate at which other technologies have been incorporated could result in enough CO2 emissions to increase the global temperature above 2°C in just 22 years. The team further estimated that incorporation at the average rate of other technologies can reduce the time gap to 16 years. According to Katie Taladay, a UH Manoa master’s student and coauthor of the paper, emissions from transportation, housing, and food are currently considered the main source of ongoing climate change, however, the new research suggests that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are expected to majorly contribute to global warming. The research was published in the journal Nature Climate Change on October 29, 2018.

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