Bitcoin’s network energy consumption has become somewhat of a hot topic as the cryptocurrency grows in popularity. A clean energy researcher, however, says that naysayers are missing critical factors when making their claims.
Having the Wrong Conversation
According to Katrina Kelly-Pitou, the popular debate on whether or not Bitcoin’s 00 network electricity consumption is causing serious damage to our climate is not headed in the right direction. Kelly-Pitou is a clean energy technology researcher at the University of Pittsburg,
Citing recent studies, which suggest Bitcoin dramatically increases the consumption of electricity on a global scale, Kelly-Pitou claims that experts are failing to understand some of the basics behind renewable energy systems:
Electricity production can increase while still maintaining a minimal impact on the environment. Rather than focusing on how much energy Bitcoin uses, the discussion should center around who indeed is producing it – and where their power comes from.
While she doesn’t neglect the substantial amount of electricity used for Bitcoin mining, she also notes that banking alone consumes “an estimated 100 terawatts.”
This is a little bit more than three times the energy Bitcoin mining consumes. She also makes an interesting claim, assuming 100x increase in Bitcoin’s current market size. Kelly-Pitou notes:
If Bitcoin technology were to mature by more than 100 times its current market size, it would still equal only 2 percent of all energy consumption.
The Right Discussion
According to the Kelly-Pitou, the focus shouldn’t be directed towards the energy consumption of Bitcoin’s network but rather towards the carbon production of Bitcoin and finding out how it could be reduced.
Bitcoinist recently reported on a new study that concluded Bitcoin has an energy problem that could affect global climate change due to high carbon emissions.
According to Kelly-Pitou, though, there is not enough information to support these kinds of claims. The same opinion is shared by Stanford lecturer Jonathan Koomey, who noted:
For two decades, people have been eager to overestimate electricity use by computing. My concern is that we simply don’t have adequate data to come to the strong conclusions that he’s coming to.
Do you think Bitcoin mining poses an environmental threat? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!
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