Bitcoins pollute more than entire nations: how is this possible?

Cryptocurrencies need a lot of electricity to be validated, more than Finland uses: this is the reason why Bitcoins pollute more than some nations

It is indisputable: Bitcoins and all cryptocurrencies have changed the way money is produced and exchanged. They were born in 2008 as a way to transfer money without banks or states being able to interfere in any way. the amount of existing Bitcoins however was not infinite: a way to increase their value. Today, a single Bitcoin is worth $50,000. But finding and exchanging them takes a lot of electricity.

Why do they consume so much energy?

In order for Bitcoins to go from one person to another as a form of payment, they must be found and validated by someone: this someone, who is commonly known as a "miner", earns 6.25 Bitcoins for each packet of Bitcoins that they verify as real and not counterfeit and place on the market. So the more cryptocurrency you find, the more you earn: to do this, however, you need a very powerful computer, which can work on very high computational values. And a single pc is not enough to really earn. Not to mention the cooling systems that prevent computers from overheating. That's how whole industrial sheds full of computers whose only purpose is to validate Bitcoin were born: gigantic data centers around the world. For years they were mostly in China, but now the United States is on the upswing. Only 7 of these "mining groups" have 80% of the computing power of the industry.

In addition to emissions, generating Bitcoin produces tons of electronic garbage: every computer or device that is not the latest generation is thrown away.

Some numbers

Just creating Bitcoin consumes more or less 91 terawatt-hours of electricity per year, more than Finland uses with its 5.5 million inhabitants. It consumes seven times more electricity than all global Google operations. One-third of U.S. cooling systems are used for data centers where Bitcoin is generated. Electricity production has increased tenfold in the last five years. The peak was reached in May 2021: for every coin mined, at least 13 years of electricity consumption of a typical American household was consumed.

Even the digital world therefore is not immune to pollution and emissions production.