The environmental effects of cryptocurrency mining on our planet are allegedly more costly than we might have thought, according to a new report.
Cryptocurrency Mining Report Provides a Dollar Figure
The document, which is entitled “Crypto Damages: Monetary Value Estimates of the Air Pollution and Human Health Impacts of Cryptocurrency Mining” has been published in the scientific journal “Energy Research and Social Science.” It was authored by several researchers at the University of New Mexico including Andrew Goodkind and Benjamin Jones, assistant economics professors at the university, and Robert Berrens, a full-time economics professor.
The data they’ve gathered – which includes Internet-based energy use for mining purposes – allowed the researchers to put a dollar amount on the environmental costs behind crypto mining.
Several analyses have been conducted in the past regarding how damaging cryptocurrency extraction could be for the environment. Some sources have claimed that crypto mining requires as much energy as is needed to keep the city of Las Vegas powered, while others have said that it utilizes more energy that what Iceland requires to power all its homes.
However, none of these studies have been able to place a financial figure on what they’ve discovered. This study marks an entirely new step forward. Jones comments:
What is most striking about this research is that it shows that the health and environmental costs of cryptocurrency are substantial; larger perhaps than most people realized.
The team suggests in the document that last year, for every single dollar in BTC that was mined, approximately 49 cents-worth of health and climate damage was done to the United States. That means that for ever dollar in bitcoin that was mined, nearly half of that dollar contributed to some sort of environmental or human health damage.
Our expertise is in estimating the monetary damages due to health and environmental impacts of different economic activities and sectors. For example, it is common for economists to study the impacts from energy use connected to production and consumption patterns in agriculture, or with automobile production and use. In a world confronting climate change, economists can help us understand the impacts connected to different activities and technologies.
The paper further explains that with each cryptocurrency that’s mined, electricity requirements tend to expand. This is also leading to an “almost inevitable cliff of negative net social benefit.”
One of the other problems that the document mentions is that cryptocurrency mining can basically occur anywhere. Thus, it would be very hard to control any lasting impact such activity might have on the atmosphere.
How Did We Arrive at This Data?
We looked at climate change from greenhouse gas emissions of electricity production and also the impacts local air pollutants have when they are carried downwind and across local communities.