Cryptographic power usage barely dropped even with market dips

Despite the hopes of many, it seems that the Current cryptocurrency downturn was not enough to significantly reduce the current environmental impacts of mining and using these digital currencies.

The Guardian asked Alex de Vries, a data scientist at the Dutch central bank and founder of Digiconomist, a service that tracks the sustainability of cryptocurrencies, about the current climate. Given that the energy required to mine these coins is often dictated by their market value, there was a chance that the environment could suffer a little from the current crypto crisis that some coins are facing. However, De Vries explains why that’s not the case, at least not yet.

The environmental impact of proof-of-work cryptocurrency mining goes beyond the intentional and conscious act of mining. The increase in the purchase of probes and the demand for parts capable of achieving good results play a role on the manufacturing side.

So once these mining rigs are bought and set up, there is not much reason to shut them down. Unless coins fall below the energy cost value needed to mine, the incentive to shut it down simply does not exist. Also, there are all the people who might not realize it until much later. Here’s a gentle reminder to turn off mining equipment if you haven’t already.

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Again, from an individual perspective, the environmental impacts don’t always seem so great, but De Vries goes on to show the scale of some of these operations. He estimates that bitcoin consumes around 204 terrawatt-hours of electricity each year. That’s more than Thailand and a lot of other literal countries. This is just a cryptocurrency. Ethereum is said to use around 104TWh a year, and even dogecoin munches 4TWh on each orbit of the planet they are completely destroying our sun.

Despite the current encryption flaws, those numbers haven’t really changed in the past month. This shows that the long-term energy usage of these coins will take time to drop. De Vries previously estimated that bitcoin would need to drop to $8,000 to make a significant reduction in emissions, but would likely still be using around 60TWh per year.

It’s hard to see how PoW cryptocurrencies could prove to be worth the power they consume to exist, especially with persistent numbers like these. Looks like you’re going to need one many more new sources of renewable energy to make it viable.

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