How to stop pollution from bitcoin mining

Sign up to have blog posts delivered straight to your inbox! The environmental impact of cryptocurrencies looms large among the many concerns voiced by sceptics. That Bitcoin damages the environment without countervailing benefits is, on the other hand, an allegation still widely believed even by many cryptocurrency fans. Sustaining it is the indisputable fact that the electricity now consumed by the Bitcoin network, at 73 TWh per year at last count, rivals the amount consumed by countries like Austria and the Philippines. Thus, a central authority was inescapable.

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WATCH RELATED VIDEO: Bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining explained

Some locals say a bitcoin mining operation is ruining one of the Finger Lakes. Here's how.

A brief patch of early morning sunlight brightens the landscape around the Greenidge Generation power plant on the banks of Seneca Lake in Dresden, N. EPA denied requests from current and former coal-fired power plants to keep using waste disposal sites filled with the toxic slurry produced from coal power, otherwise known as coal ash.

But two of the coal ash ponds — Greenidge in Dresden, N. The plants have been used to power computers that produce cryptocurrencies, a growing set of decentralized digital currencies becoming popular in the Internet age.

The agency is getting involved as more cryptocurrency mining operations examine using old coal plants as a power source Energywire , June 24, Even a coal plant tied to the family of Sen.

Joe Manchin D-W. Proponents excited about this industry trend believe that as grid reliability becomes a greater issue in communities across the United States, mining for bitcoins — the best-known form of cryptocurrency — can help ensure that backup power generation is available to consumers by profitably keeping some plants online.

Greenidge Generation Holdings, the company that owns the former coal plant in Dresden, N. The facility was converted to natural gas and is used primarily for bitcoin mining, while also providing some power to the local electric grid.

In April, the company disclosed that it had launched a bitcoin mining pilot project at the plant. A company representative said Friday that the company completed the pilot project in October Energywire , Sept. In both actions taken last week, EPA denied extensions for plants to continue operating the coal ash ponds on their properties past a mandatory deadline. EPA considered Greenidge disqualified from getting an exemption because it no longer uses coal for power.

EPA also said that to qualify for an extension, the plants would need their respective grid operators to determine that ceasing operations would affect grid reliability. Immediately after that deadline, they would have to begin closing those waste sites.

Phillips said EPA demonstrated that the cryptocurrency space has more environmental considerations — like waste — to worry about beyond carbon emissions, which have been the primary focus of climate activists critical of the industry. Observers said the actions taken by EPA appeared to be its first words on the environmental impacts of cryptocurrency. EPA has previously funded independent research into pollution from cryptocurrency production, including a study that investigated how to quantify the monetary health and environmental damage posed by mining bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies.

But the actions taken on the coal ash ponds appeared to be the first time EPA has formally addressed the environmental stewardship of individual cryptocurrency miners, said Judith Enck, who served as administrator for EPA Region 2 under the Obama administration. The spokesperson said EPA "expects to issue additional decisions in the coming months" on the closure of coal ash ponds across the country.

For companies like Greenidge Generation Holdings, there are a lot of advantages to holding court in a power plant.

The power generation capacity allows it to operate without relying on third-party power agreements, according to the company filing, and allows its power to be exempt from transmission and distribution charges from local utilities. In addition, it allows Greenidge to make money from being available to supply power to the grid, even when it is not needed. The company acknowledges that it plans to make less and less electricity from the plant available to the grid over time, a trend it has said will continue as more existing power capacity goes toward ramping up its bitcoin mining operations.

This fact could make it more difficult for Greenidge to get permission for flexibility from EPA in closing its coal ash pond. To mine for bitcoins, high-powered computers, called rigs, are deployed to solve cryptographic puzzles that become increasingly difficult over time. Solving a puzzle unlocks cryptocurrency, a transaction that is then recorded to a unified ledger known as a blockchain.

Such computing power demands immense amounts of energy, which has led to scrutiny from Democratic lawmakers and environmental activists concerned about the emissions associated with cryptocurrency worsening the warming of the planet.

Supporters of the coal-to-crypto trend argue that, at a time when reliability is a growing concern, companies have found a profitable way to ensure that more reserve power is available to the grid in the event of disaster. If deployed responsibly and sustainably, they say, funding operational power plants through mining cryptocurrency could be part of the future of electricity generation.

However, the practice has plenty of opponents who are worried about climate change and energy efficiency. EPA last week took steps to rein in the environmental footprint of bitcoin miners. The coal-to-crypto pipeline Mining for cryptocurrencies — like mining for any mineral commodity — requires a lot of energy.

Bitcoin mining generates tonnes of e-waste every year, says study

Bitcoin is on the verge of going mainstream, with some companies — and even countries — recognizing the cryptocurrency as legal tender. The market cap of Bitcoin now surpasses both Facebook and Tesla , and it also recently became the 13th largest currency in the world. In the real world, however, the surging investment in virtual currency is inflicting real world impacts — perhaps nowhere more acutely than Pennsylvania. As Bitcoin mining operations scour the globe for readily available electricity, previously dead or dying fossil fuel plants are being resuscitated and repurposed to power single-purpose supercomputers.

Bitcoin's energy consumption and environmental impact are commented Cost Control & Innovation to Increase Efficiency: Mining companies.

Monthly Match

Bitcoin mining produces electronic waste e-waste annually comparable to the small IT equipment waste of a place like the Netherlands, research shows. Miners of the cryptocurrency each year produce 30, tonnes of e-waste, Alex de Vries and Christian Stoll estimate. That averages g 9. By comparison, an iPhone 13 weighs g 6. Miners earn money by creating new Bitcoins, but the computing used consumes large amounts of energy. They audit Bitcoin transactions in exchange for an opportunity to acquire the digital currency. Attention has been focused on the electricity this consumes - currently more than the Philippines - and the greenhouse gas pollution caused as a result. But as the computers used for mining become obsolete, it also generates lots of e-waste.

Europe must ban Bitcoin mining to hit the 1.5C Paris climate goal, say Swedish regulators

how to stop pollution from bitcoin mining

France 24 is not responsible for the content of external websites. The long sheds at North America's largest bitcoin mine look endless in the Texas sun, packed with the type of machines that have helped the United States to become the new global hub for the digital currency. The operation in the quiet town of Rockdale was part of an already bustling US business -- now boosted by Beijing's intensified crypto crackdown that has pushed the industry west. Experts say rule of law and cheap electricity in the United States are a draw for bitcoin miners, whose energy-gulping computers race to unlock units of the currency.

As China tries to cut back on air pollution that has choked cities like Baoding and Shanghai, it's taking aim at cryptocurrency mining.

Blockchain and the environment

Why does Elon Musk say Bitcoin is bad for the environment? Keep up to date with the latest coronavirus news via our live blog. The price of Bitcoin dropped by more than 7 per cent yesterday, off the back of a single tweet by tech billionaire Elon Musk. Mr Musk's problem? He said Bitcoin mining is bad for the environment, and as a result he announced Tesla would no longer accept Bitcoin payments.

Bitcoin Mining in Upstate New York Is Environmental Concern

Bitcoin is bringing dirty power plants out of retirement. Earthjustice is fighting this new trend in order to put an end to fossil fuels once and for all. Seneca Lake in upstate New York is drawing attention to Bitcoin's impact on the environment. A nearby Bitcoin mining plant is heating the lake waters -- and the climate. Bitcoin, the first and most famous cryptocurrency, is now burning through as much energy and pumping out as much greenhouse gas as entire nations. This is, shall we say, not helpful at a time when humanity is racing to switch to clean energy before we cook the planet. Earthjustice is urging regulators not to let that happen. The appeal of Bitcoin for some people is it allows them to trust no person, bank, or government.

You have probably heard of Bitcoin or Ethereum; you may have even heard About 65 percent of cryptocurrency mining occurs in China.

Bitcoin Is Massively Polluting the Earth — And We Should All Be Scared

Acquiring Bitcoin is like mining diamonds. Finding additional diamonds requires more investment to afford digging deeper to search for them. The Bitcoin system works in a similar way: acquiring additional Bitcoins requires more electricity. As the Bitcoin industry grows, the overall electricity consumption caused by every individual transaction will increase steeply.

Bitcoin mining producing tonnes of waste

He is responsible for the English speaking market of Youmatter since Is bitcoin bad for the environment? Unlike most forms of currency issued by single entities usually central banks , Bitcoin is based on a decentralized network. Its transactions are approved by different miners who simultaneously solve complex equations using specific hardware and plenty of energy.

Summer on Seneca Lake, the largest of the Finger Lakes in upstate New York, is usually a time of boating, fishing, swimming and wine tasting.

It's easy to understand how coal mining is bad for the environment. Excavating large chunks of land, moving soil and rocks to rake resources from beneath the surface — of course that disrupts ecosystems and unearths harmful pollutants that contaminate the air and groundwater. Bitcoin mining seems like it should be cleaner and more contained than digging into the ground; after all, cryptocurrency can be mined indoors from a single laptop. But make no mistake: The process is a massive energy suck. That same single transaction has a carbon footprint that is the equivalent of watching more than 50, hours of YouTube. If you think that's bad, just wait until you hear the yearly figures.

Peter Howson does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. Rai stones were one of the first forms of money used on the Micronesian islands of Yap. To get hold of a Rai, you had to row a canoe for km or so to Palau and chisel away at some local limestone.

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  1. Samunos

    At you inquisitive mind :)