Bitcoin Logo (courtesy of India Today)

Bitcoin Logo (courtesy of India Today)

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are becoming very popular as the US dollar is becoming unstable, but people aren’t aware of the negative impact of cryptocurrency on the environment. 


Bitcoin is an online currency that is not ruled by any single person or organization. There is nothing backing Bitcoin except the fact that it has a finite supply. You can think of it as money in your PayPal account. It’s not a physical currency, but it can be used as such and traded for real currency. Bitcoin prices fluctuate extremely frequently. It can drop thousands of dollars per day, making transactions difficult due to the rapid price changes. Bitcoin uses a piece of computer technology called the blockchain. It’s a system where every Bitcoin transaction is stored and made public. The blockchain requires a lot of energy because massive computers are always computing transactions and running code.


Bitcoin itself isn’t bad; it’s how we acquire them by “mining” them. Mining Bitcoin means high-power computers solving difficult mathematical puzzles. This takes a lot of energy to do and on top of that, it isn’t just one computer it’s hundreds of them stacked on top of each other. To put this into perspective, a study was done at Cambridge University and they found that the computers that mine Bitcoin consume more energy per year than the country Argentina did. Also, another study was done and they found that carbon emissions from the mining will equal that of the city of London soon. The most startling fact I found was that if this continues the mining could raise the global temperature by 2 degrees celsius. Even Though cryptocurrency is the future, we need to focus on the present and find a sustainable way to mine Bitcoins so when we do reach that future we’ll still have the great green smelling earth. 


So, although Bitcoin is all online and very popular, it’s surprisingly bad for the environment. This new wave of cryptocurrencies and people buying into this market is putting even more emissions into the environment. Influential fans and promoters of crypto, like Elon Musk, are starting to realise that Bitcoin is bad for the environment. This has lead Tesla to not accept Bitcoin until it finds a more sustainable solution. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are the future, but we need to focus on a solution to make them more sustainable.




So overall, this new exciting investment opportunity of Bitcoin, which has been blowing up over the past few months, is not a passive currency to produce and distribute. Most investors probably do not consider the environmental impact or the fossil fuels potentially used to mine this cryptocurrency, but its effects are now being brought to light.