Technology Bitcoin mining is an energy hog. Here's what you should know
Bitcoin to Become Legal Tender in El Salvador, President Says at Cryptocurrency Event
President Nayib Bukele has announced that he will be introducing a bill to make El Salvador the first sovereign state to accept bitcoin as a legal tender.The president of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, announced at the Bitcoin 2021 conference in Miami that the country of El Salvador has partnered with Strike, a digital wallet company, to begin turning the financial infrastructure of the country to Bitcoin technology, reported CNBC.
Tesla CEO and cryptocurrency cheerleader Elon Musk shook the crypto market when he said his company would . In a , Musk referred to an increase in the use of coal and other fossil fuels to generate the power used for mining as the reason behind his decision. The fallout from the tweet: the price of .
Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other popular cryptos reached record highs this year, raising concerns about the amount of energy needed to mine the coins. Warehouses of Bitcoin mining rigs run 24 hours a day, . As the energy bill for crypto mining rises, so does the amount of carbon and waste, adding to the growing climate crisis.
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Here's what you need to know about crypto mining and its energy uses.
What is crypto mining?
When Bitcoins are traded, computers across the globe race to complete a computation that creates a 64-digit hexadecimal number, or hash, for that Bitcoin. This hash goes into a public ledger so anyone can confirm the transaction for that particular Bitcoin happened. The computer that solves the computation first gets a reward of 6.2 bitcoins, or about $225,000 at current prices.
Other cryptocurrencies use similar mining technologies, contributing to the overall energy usage.
What is a mining rig?
It's a barebones computer with multiple graphics cards, or GPUs, instead of the single-card standard. Rigs usually use powerful GPUs from Nvidia and AMD to handle calculations and require high-wattage power supplies. The popularity of mining has led to a.
What happened on the call between Elon Musk and bitcoin miners
Bitcoin miner Marathon Digital Holdings held a call Sunday with Elon Musk about the potential to make mining greener. © Provided by CNN Musk's announcement about the call -- on Twitter, of course -- sent bitcoin surging earlier this week. Prior to the call, Tesla reversed its position on bitcoin, saying it would no longer accept crypto for car payments because of its climate impact. First Move's Julia Chatterley spoke to Fred Thiel, CEO of Marathon Digital Holdings, Wednesday, where he spoke about the call, mining and climate and where bitcoin prices might go.
Why is mining so energy-intensive?
For starters, graphics cards on mining rigs work 24 hours a day. That takes up a lot more power than browsing the internet. A rig with three GPUs can consume 1,000 watts of power or more when it's running, the equivalent of having a medium-size window AC unit turned on.
Crypto mining businesses can have hundreds or even thousands of rigs in one location. A mining center in Kazakhstan is equipped to run.
Not only do rigs take up power, they also generate heat. The more rigs you have, the hotter it gets. If you don't want your rigs to melt, you need some cooling. Many mining rigs have multiple built-in computer fans. But if you have multiple rigs, the room quickly gets hot, requiring external cooling. Small operations, like those run by individuals, can get by with a typical standing fan. Mining centers, however, need a lot more cooling, which in turn requires even more electricity.
This Solar Crypto Mine Plan Is Stranger Than Fiction
A Montana crypto empire wants to build out one of the nation’s largest solar projects, promising it will power a technological revolution in the state. But some residents are worried about the impact the project could have on their community–and it brings up a question of whether installing huge renewable energy projects is worth it when they come in tandem with energy-sucking industries rather than decarbonizing what’s already there. © Photo: Lars Hagberg/AFP (Getty Images) A technician inspects the backside of bitcoin mining operation.
How much energy does it take?
Theestimated that one Bitcoin transaction takes 1,544 kWh to complete, or the equivalent of approximately 53 days of power for the average US household.
To put that into money terms, the. That means a Bitcoin transaction would generate more than $200 in energy bills.
Bitcoin mining used, according to an analysis from Cambridge University in February. At 121.36 terawatt-hours, crypto mining would be in the top 30 of countries based on energy consumption.
Why is taking up that much energy bad for the environment?
Fossil fuels account for more than 60% of the energy sources in the US. A majority of that percentage is natural gas and a minority is coal. The carbon dioxide produced by fossil fuels is released into the atmosphere, where it absorbs heat from the sun and causes the.
As mining rigs consume more energy, nearby power plants must produce more electricity to compensate, which raises the likelihood that more fossil fuels will be used. States that have struggling coal power plants, such as, and crypto mining companies.
Bitcoin slides 7 percent after U.S. seizes most of Colonial Pipeline ransom
U.S. officials said Monday they have seized $2.3 million in bitcoin paid to hacker group DarkSide.Court documents said investigators were able to access the password for one of the hackers’ bitcoin wallets. The money was recovered by a recently launched task force in Washington created as part of the government’s response to a rise in cyberattacks.
What's being done about this problem?
Not much. The 3rd Global Cryptoasset Benchmarking Study from the University of Cambridge found that. Energy consumption made up only 30% of their choice.
Access to renewable energy at a low price, however, attracts crypto miners. China's Sichuan Province has the country's second-largest number of miners due to its abundance of cheap hydroelectric power. Its rainy season helps to generate so much energy that cities are looking forin order to avoid wasting power.
The operators of Ethereum, the second-most-popular blockchain behind Bitcoin, are doing something to change the amount of energy its miners consume. is an upgrade that will be completed sometime this year or in 2022. Instead of computers trying to solve computations -- referred to as -- computers will be randomly selected to create blocks for the blockchain, while computers that weren't selected will validate those blocks created.
To ensure miners do their job, each miner has to stake 32 Ethereum coins, also called Ether, which is equivalent to $85,000, hence the term for this protocol is called. This change reduces the amount of energy needed for Ethereum mining.
Ethereum's recovery is tied to it becoming more energy-efficient
The cryptocurrency network is planning a software switch that could erase most of its carbon footprint.Bitcoin mining globally uses about as much electricity as the nation of Argentina, producing a similar volume of greenhouse gas emissions to the London metro area. The reason for the big footprint is rooted in how bitcoins are “mined”: Fleets of computers compete to unlock coins by solving increasingly difficult math problems, a computational methodology known as proof-of-work.
What other cryptocurrencies are more energy-efficient than Bitcoin?
A growing number of coins -- there are more than 10,000 of them -- use the proof-of-stake protocol that Ethereum 2.0 will transition to, resulting in a drop in power consumption.
Cardano, for example, uses its own proof-of-stake protocol and consumes. To put that in perspective, Cardano's energy use is a GWh and a half shy of providing enough power for the , with its , for a year. By comparison, Bitcoin uses , which is equivalent to the amount of energy Pakistan, with its , uses each year.
Following Musk's May 13 tweet,because it was seen as an environmentally friendly alternative to Bitcoin. Its on May 16, but its value fell and is currently at $1.57.
Chiefs TE Sean Culkin plans to convert entire 2021 salary into Bitcoin .
Sean Culkin is all in on crypto this season. The Kansas Chiefs tight end, should he make their roster this fall, announced Monday that he plans to convert his entire salary into Bitcoin. There's a lot of overlap between gold and Bitcoin. "Through education and learning and having a level of conviction over the course of time, I just felt like I wanted to be compensated from my services in football in Bitcoin."The Kansas Chiefs tight end, should he make their roster this fall, announced Monday that he plans to convert his entire salary into Bitcoin.