How bad is bitcoin for the environment really?


The cryptocurrency‘s dramatic ascent has created millionaires, reimagined money, and launched a multi-billion dollar industry inspired by its revolutionary decentralised technology. But it has also brought with it some unwanted side effects.

The computing power required to support bitcoin’s underlying network now requires nearly as much energy as the entire country of Argentina, leading to criticism about its environmental footprint.

Analysis by the University of Cambridge suggests the bitcoin network uses more than 121 terawatt-hours (TWh) annually, which would rank it in the top 30 electricity consumers worldwide if it were a country.

The energy demands have been fuelled by the surging price of bitcoin in recent months, which has seen it rise from below $5,000 (£3,600) last March to close to $50,000 today.



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