Cryptocurrency mining could hinder the fight against climate change: White House

A series of bitcoin mining units inside a container at the Cleanspark facility in College Park, Georgia, U.S., on Friday, April 22, 2022.

Elijah Nouvelage | Bloomberg | beautiful pictures

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy on Thursday warned that cryptocurrency mining activities could hinder the country’s ability to mitigate climate change. It also said federal agencies should review information from cryptocurrency miners and local utilities “in a privacy-preserving manner” to help understand and mitigate the problem.

Crypto operations in the US now consume as much energy as all home computers or all residential lighting, White House said in a report. The findings come amid growing criticism about the amount of electricity cryptocurrency mining operations generate.

Cryptocurrency mining involves running banks of computers to solve complex mathematical equations in order to generate new coins and validate transactions. Bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency, is included in this “proof of work” system, although the second coin, ether, is moving to a different method that may not require as much energy.

According to the report, U.S. crypto production accounts for between 0.2% and 0.3% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and between 0.4% and 0.8% of domestic emissions, respectively, although estimates are uncertain. Cryptocurrency mining generates planet-warming emissions primarily by burning coal, natural gas, and other fossil fuels to generate electricity.

The report says that this year, crypto mining has generated between 110 and 170 million tons of carbon pollution worldwide, and about 25 to 50 million tons in the United States alone. The process of producing electricity by purchasing electricity from the grid or by producing and processing computers and mining infrastructure.

The White House said in the report: “The use of electricity from digital assets is contributing to GHG emissions, additional pollution, noise, and other local impacts that, depending on the market, are books and local power sources”.

“Depending on the energy intensity of the technology used, crypto assets could thwart broader efforts to achieve net zero carbon pollution in line with commitments and targets. climate of the United States,” it added.

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The report is the result of the President Joe BidenThe executive order in March called on the government to examine the risks and benefits of cryptocurrencies. The president has pledged to at least halve US emissions from 2005 levels by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

The report states that global crypto mining emissions are greater than the emissions of many individual countries and are equivalent to global emissions from all barges, tankers and other ships en route. inland waterways. Additionally, Bitcoin, the world’s largest digital currency by market value, generates about two-thirds of global crypto-greenhouse gas emissions.

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