No, Bitcoin isn’t Going to Cause Global Warming

Recent study claimed Bitcoin mining emissions could push global warming above 2°C in three decades (that rise being a tipping point for global warming).If that claim sounds a bit off to you, you are likely correct.[1]

The study that claimed this assumes a lot of things that really make very little sense to assume.

In summary, they assume epic growth in Bitcoin mining, but no change in how it is mined (in terms of location and technology).

The main problems here are 1. that those assumptions likely don’t relate to reality as it’ll play out and 2. the media tweaked the study into headlines that read something like “we all gonna die because Bitcoin will cause global warming.”

In other words, although one can agree that electricity usage is a top cause of greenhouse gas emissions, that greenhouse gasses impact global warming, and that Bitcoin uses electricity, the conclusion that mining alone will be a major threat to climate change is “some Bitcoin global warming FUD.”

Now with that said, instead of repeating what the FUD articles have said or repeating the rebuttals, I’m just going to generally make you aware of the above and then drop some of the better pro/con articles in the following paragraph:

If mining energy usage keeps increasing at the current rate and nothing else changes (for example if China keeps mining with coal-based energy), then eventually “Bitcoin mining alone could cause global warming” (never mind crypto mining in general). However, since that premise relies on a ton of ifs and some wild speculation (sort of like the “if the population never stops growing we will run out of food argument”). In short then, for too many reasons to list, but including the reality that technology will evolve as mining popularity grows, “No, Bitcoin won’t destroy our climate by [insert date here].” Bitcoin mining currently uses about 0.1% of the world’s electricity, it has a long way to go before it destroys the planet.

Article Citations
  1. Bitcoin emissions alone could push global warming above 2°C.

Author: Thomas DeMichele

Thomas DeMichele has been working in the cryptocurrency information space since 2015 when was created. He has contributed to MakerDAO, Alpha Bot (the number one crypto bot on Discord),...

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