How cryptocurrencies and NFTs ruin our climate

The last time (a few years ago) I heard about the energy consumption of Bitcoin mining it was tipped to use an energy equivalent in the range of Ireland to Austria. That was bad enough but I did not expect how cryptocurrencies and NFTs ruin our climate today. Now I stumbled across the latest statistics that the energy of the two biggest cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin and Ethereum, have an energy consumption ranging between Italy and the UK!

         Energy Consumption by Country including Bitcoin & Ethereum

In other words, a single Bitcoin transaction uses up as much energy an average US household would over 73,82 days! Or it would equate to 1,451,245 VISA transactions!

The same applies to other cryptocurrencies and the currently most fashionable NFTs (non fungible tokens). They are touted to be the next big thing on the web. Technically a NFT is a digital proof of ownership and can be assigned to almost anything. So far best known for selling pixelated images traded on the web, NFTs are tipped to be used for music files, digital trading cards, promotions, digital loyalty items and all kind stuff floating on the web.

The fault of the crypto processes is in the design. Each transaction needs to be replicated on a large number of decentralised PCs to be valid. Procedures to make transactions secure require complex algorithms and a lot of checks and balances across a network. In turn this requires massive computing power, energy and cooling (which requires more energy). As miners are seldom located in countries with surplus green energy this is driving demand for fossil fuel powered electricity.

This makes me want to feel to cry out: “are you bonkers”? I am dialling down my heating and reduce, reuse & recycle while others are mindlessly blowing out electricity when trading (speculating on) bitcoins or purchasing pixelated monkey pictures with NFTs resembling bad 80s PC graphics (believe me, I had my fair share). And to put in plainly – the NFT-art I have seen looks shyte.

I learned there are procedures considered that can ameliorate some of the energy problems – but far from all. Having unlimited green energy would help as well – once humanity reaches that stage. If you don’t want cryptocurrencies and NFTs ruin our climate, just wait a bit. I suggest at least until 2050.

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