Some environmentalists are gleefully celebrating the current crypto bear market, saying it’s a sure sign that bitcoin is “becoming worthless” and “will soon be no more.” And they’re breathlessly counting down the days until its demise.
“Bitcoin is a colossal waste of energy [and] will soon be no more,” writer Ilana Strauss gloated at TreeHugger. “Good riddance…We’ve known bitcoin was dropping for a while, but the nails are really going in the coffin now.”
Strauss said she has always disliked the “imaginary currency” because it takes “a ridiculous amount of energy” to mine bitcoin.
“In 2017, bitcoin mining took up more energy than 159 countries,” she wrote. “12 states in the US use less energy than bitcoin.”
‘Bitcoin Mining Threatens Our Existence’
Strauss echoed the sentiments of other environmentalists, some of whom claim that bitcoin mining is an existential threat to humankind.
Jon Truby, the director of the Centre for Law and Development at Qatar University, claims the enormous amount of electricity required for cryptocurrency mining will exacerbate greenhouse gas emissions and pollute the environment.
“Digital currency mining is the first major industry developed from blockchain, because its transactions alone consume more electricity than entire nations,” Truby wrote in an October 2018 paper for the academic journal Energy Research & Social Science. “It needs to be directed towards sustainability if it is to realize its potential advantages.”
Others point out that crypto mining has a far smaller environmental impact than legacy systems like gold and fiat currencies and that its electricity consumption is ridiculously over-hyped.
Truby says bitcoin was designed with no consideration about its environmental impact and as such, “threatens our existence.”
Accordingly, he called for government intervention on crypto mining and said further development of blockchain should be curbed in order to mitigate its grave environmental threat.
“Many developers have taken no account of the environmental impact of their designs, so we must encourage them to adopt consensus protocols that do not result in high emissions,” Truby wrote. “Taking no action means we are subsidizing high energy-consuming technology and causing future blockchain developers to follow the same harmful path.”
Enviro-Academic: ‘Bitcoin is Here to Stay’
That said, Jon Truby conceded that blockchain is an “important technology” that warrants further development. And unlike the writer at TreeHugger, Truby said bitcoin isn’t going anywhere, so we have to find a way to accommodate it.
“Bitcoin is here to stay, and so, future models must be designed without reliance on energy consumption so disproportionate on their economic or social benefits,” Truby wrote.
Despite these grave warnings from environmental activists, the industry is forging ahead and betting big on bitcoin.
As CCN.com reported, crypto mining firm Coinmint plans to invest up to $700 million to build the world’s largest bitcoin mining center in Upstate New York.
Coinmint has already invested $50 million so far to convert a 1,300-acre aluminum smelting plant in Massena, New York.
Lest anyone think the project is short-term, it bears noting that Coinmint signed a 10-year lease on the property. The new mining farm is expected to be operational by June 2019.
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