A few months ago tech writers started sounding alarms about the massive carbon footprint of cryptocurrency. Apparently since cryptocurrency is built to be self-limiting by increasing the difficulty of algorithms with each use, the amount of energy needed for each transaction goes up. One estimate puts the amount of energy used for Bitcoin alone at 1% of domestic energy production in the United States worldwide. An even more dire estimate says that Bitcoin alone could consume all of the world’s energy by 2020.
It’s likely that Bitcoin will never reach that benchmark for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that the prediction is based on a lot of assumptions. The data needed to discover just how much energy cryptocurrency transactions, particularly Bitcoin transactions, are using just isn’t readily available without further study and scrutiny.
That’s not to say that cryptocurrency doesn’t have its problems with energy use — it is exclusively based in the digital world with the exception of a few certificated that get printed off of Bitcoin ATMs once in a while. That said, there is still time to figure out how to use cryptocurrency more efficiently as well as lessons to learn about how to build it more eco-friendly in the future.
Learn more about the carbon footprint of cryptocurrency from this infographic.