By now, you would have already heard of Elon Musk’s US$1.5 billion (~RM6.11 billion) investment into Bitcoin and how he intends to make it possible for consumers to buy cars from his company, Tesla with the cryptocurrency. As eco-friendly as the man’s action may seem, some people believe that his actions could have the opposite reaction to the global environment.
As explained in a Reuters article, one of the biggest problems with mining for Bitcoin – or any cryptocurrency, for that matter – is the amount of carbon dioxide created by the mining farms that solve and execute the calculations provided by the blockchain, and getting paid for it.
According to data provided by the University of Cambridge and the International Energy Agency, cryptomining is expected to generate nearly 30 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. To put it in another way, the energy consumed by all current mining farms to-date, nearly matches the energy consumption of The Netherlands back in 2019.
That is not to say that there are no environmentally conscious miners in the world. SJ Oh, a former Bitcoin trader and environmentalist, co-founded Pow-re, a company that is reported to run “green” bitcoin mining operations with hydropower. All in sub-zero temperatures, situated within Canada’s subarctic region.
We also shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss Musk’s and Tesla’s endeavours to go green. Despite the fears of an environmental whiplash, the man recently offered US$100 million (~RM404 million) for inventions that could effectively reduce carbon dioxide emission, both from the atmosphere and oceans. Moreover, there’s also the possibility that the man could, in some form or another, develop a sustainable method of mining Bitcoin in the future.