Altcoins represent a third of the total energy consumption of crypto mining
Researchers from the Technical University of Munich encourage regulators to look beyond Bitcoin when it comes to considering the environmental impact of crypto mining.
According to an August 4 issue of the scientific journal Joule, researchers Ulrich Gallersdörfer, Lena Klaaßen, and Christian Stoll determined that Bitcoin (BTC) mining accounts for just 66% of the total energy consumption of the top 20. cryptocurrencies by market cap.
“Based on the underlying algorithms, current hash rates, and appropriate mining devices, we conclude that Bitcoin accounts for 2/3 of total energy consumption, and understudied cryptocurrencies account for 1 /3 remaining,” the report says:
“Therefore, understudied currencies add almost 50% to Bitcoin’s energy hunger, which already alone can cause massive environmental damage.”
The study determined the power consumption of altcoins by analyzing their hash rates and mining equipment. Blockchains included Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Bitcoin SV (BSV), Litecoin (LTC), Monero (XMR), Dash (DASH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Zcash (ZEC), DogeCoin (DOGE) , Bitcoin Gold (BTG), Decred (DCR), RavenCoin (RVN), MonaCoin (MONA), Bytom (BTM), SiaCoin (SC), DigiByte (DGB), Horizen (ZEN), Komodo (KMD) and Bytecoin (BCN) ).
Crypto mining is destroying the planet?
The research team pointed out that while the energy requirements of cryptocurrency mining are a concern for environmentalists, many studies focus exclusively on Bitcoin rather than all cryptocurrencies.
“Energy consumption, in itself, is not an issue in the context of climate change,” the report says. However, he said crypto mining creates an unexpected load that requires additional resources. “Increasing the full-load hours of some generation resources can lead to fuel switching effects and alter local emission intensities,” compounding the environmental effects.
Bitcoin pioneer Hal Finney Noted as early as 2009, mining had the potential to create an environmental nightmare due to its energy requirements, and that was before altcoins were created. According to the Digiconomist, the collective power consumption of the Bitcoin mining network to date – approximately 63.5 terawatt hours – dwarfs the power consumption of several developed countries, including Switzerland.
Oil is the solution?
Most of the energy needed to mine Bitcoin already comes from renewable energy sources. According to a December 2019 report by research firm CoinShares, around 73% of BTC mining is powered by renewable energy.
A proposed solution to address the energy consumption of crypto mining is to convert the excess gas produced during oil mining into electricity. By setting up mining operations in containers on the fields, there is no need to install pipelines or waste excess gas. Operations simply turn excess gas or oil into electricity to power the mining rigs.