What will happen when all the bitcoins are mined? This question is a common one when it comes to bitcoin mining.
In recent times, there have been more arising concerns. Several digital currencies such as ether as well as bitcoin are growing in high unit value. The blockchain records close to 500,000 transactions daily. The numbers of daily deals are quite encouraging. Other new cryptocurrencies have emerged. Statistics show that the level of acceptance is increasing.
This progress doesn’t change the fact that the technology has its detractors. A pressing concern is the cost of bitcoin mining on the environment.
Environmentalists discovered environmental deficits the technology leaves on the rest of the world. Cryptocurrency-related activities exceed the energy usage of up to 159 countries around the world. According to the reports published by Digiconomist, bitcoin used about 32 terawatts of energy per year.
The numbers equate the amount of energy needed to power three million households in the United States. Despite the advantages of bitcoin, it is undeniable that it runs using high amounts of energy.
Taking bitcoin as a case study; other digital currencies use its model. Bitcoins’ manufacturing is through a process known as “mining.” In this process, computers all over the world solve challenging arithmetic problems. The reward for the mining process is bitcoin. When the mathematical puzzle gets harder, this process consumes a lot of energy.
The system needs more computing power to solve this puzzle, hence the need for higher amounts of energy.
Adherents argue that the advantage of the blockchain technology is second to none. Detractors counter their arguments by talking of the high energy consumption.
On a deeper level, the problem stems from generating electricity through fossil fuels. Many investors are yet to notice this link.
A significant level of mining happens in China. In China, a lot of rig operations happen in rural areas. In these places, electricity and land are relatively cheap. Researchers discovered that electricity for the mining process come from coal-based power plants.
The burning of fossil fuels and coal is a primary electricity source worldwide. Coal helps in the mining of bitcoin as well as other processes. Coal burning causes climate change because of carbon monoxide which is a by-product.
Carbon monoxide is generally a by-product of the combustion of fossil fuels. It is a greenhouse gas and considered a threat to the environment.
Miners hold that saying the mathematical process gets harder as more the production of more bitcoins is a misconception. The argument explains that the network is conditioned to adjust to any difficulty. There is a production of one block every 10 minutes irrespective of the computing power available.
It is not wrong to say that there is a possibility of a greener environment in the absence of bitcoin mining. The bitcoin power consumption is not about to change soon. It is unavoidable. The existing options to curb it only reduce the value of cryptocurrency.
A solution to this unavoidable high energy consumption is using renewable energy. This method helps supply the growing consumption needs of the blockchain ecosystem to ensure a sustainable world. An industry that creates private incentives and public pressure to where the energy is cleanest and cheapest is a welcome idea.
Excess energy from traditional renewable energy plants used to power the blockchain is creative in itself.
Not long ago, people also complained that Google as a search engine would use up all the energy in the world. A constant trend in technology is that with evolution comes an introduction of hardware that requires lesser power. Bitcoin is new. In years to come, the technology will become more efficient even with lower energy consumption. For now, we embrace renewable energy.