With Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey calling attention to the environmental impact of bitcoin mining, the mining community is upgrading its equipment and plugging into renewable energy.
Bitcoin mining has a bad rap. For years, critics have smeared the mining community by saying we pollute the planet.
The matter crossed over to a more mainstream scenario in May, when Elon Musk said Tesla was suspending cryptocurrency payments over concerns “about rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for bitcoin mining and transactions.” And Square, the financial services and digital payments company co-founded by Twitter CEO and bitcoin permabull Jack Dorsey, is investing millions of dollars in a solar-powered bitcoin mining facility to remedy the situation.
There is a degree of validity to the complaint — electricity can be renewable and clean, drawn from solar farms and hydroelectric generators, or it can be produced by burning coal and spewing filth into the air. This all depends on where miners are located and the way they link up to the electricity grid.
In any case, change is afoot. As the geographical distribution of the miners shifts from a concentration in East Asia to new locations, old and inefficient gear is being taken offline. In its place, mining equipment with higher energy efficiency and lower emissions will take its place. Plus, miners are landing in new home bases where renewable energy is abundant — and cheaper — making progress that not only benefits the crypto community, but everyone on Earth.
Today, bitcoin uses roughly 78.5 terawatt hours of energy per year, or about 0.35% of all electricity generated in that time frame, according to the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index. During the peak in May, the numbers were 110 TWh, or 0.55% of the world’s generated electricity.
While it’s nearly impossible to draw proper comparisons with other forms of power usage because there are very few things in the world that are like bitcoin in utility and meaning, one gauge tells us the scale of energy consumption: right now, bitcoin uses more power than entire nations like Chile or Bangladesh.
As mining operations that are currently offline return to full capacity, we may see a return to peak hashrates without the same levels of energy usage. The mining community has two integral traits — they are mobile, and they are brutally efficient in chasing after minimum costs.
That means miners that are on the move will plug back in where energy is the cheapest, which often coincides with where it is the cleanest. In fact, recent analysis by investment bank Lazard indicates most renewable energy sources cost about the same or less than conventional energy like coal and gas. Cost trajectories tell us green energy may become even cheaper. Also, research by the Bitcoin Mining Council suggests the bitcoin mining community’s sustainable energy mix was around 56% in the second quarter of 2021, up from roughly 37% in the first three months of the year, demonstrating a significant shift in how miners power their rigs.
Paired with equipment that uses less electricity than ever before, these developments are boons for miners, who not only will slash costs spent on utilities, but also leave a lighter environmental footprint. No wonder Musk backtracked to say Tesla will likely accept bitcoin again.
To stay ahead of the curve, Bitdeer is constantly improving its offerings. Bitdeer.com’s AntBox is energy-efficient, risk-resistant, easy to build, and easy to move. That makes it the perfect mining unit to drift to wherever energy is the cheapest — which often means it is renewable, and hence the cleanest.
Head over to Bitdeer.com and check out how the AntBox and cloud hashrates can work for you.
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