Many bitcoins equals a heavy environmental burden. Disclosure statement Fabrice Flipo has received financing from the Fondation Mines Télécom and the Caisse des dépôts as well as support for work on e-waste and “green TICs”. Michel Berne does user blockchain bitcoin work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. Télécom École de Management and Institut Mines-Télécom provide funding as members of The Conversation FR.
The Conversation UK receives funding from Hefce, Hefcw, SAGE, SFC, RCUK, The Nuffield Foundation, The Ogden Trust, The Royal Society, The Wellcome Trust, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The Alliance for Useful Evidence, as well as sixty five university members. The digital world still lives under the illusion that it is intangible. C, the spread of digital technology continued to take place without the slightest concern for the environment. Electricity consumption equivalent to that of Ireland In a 2014 study, Karl J.
O’Dwyer and David Malone showed that the consumption of the bitcoin network was likely to be approximately equivalent to the electricity consumption of a country like Ireland, i. Imagine the consequences if this type of bitcoin currency becomes widespread. The corresponding energy consumption should therefore exceed 4,000 GW, which is eight times the electricity consumption of France and twice that of the United States. The two important factors here are the length of the blockchain and the number of copies. For the bitcoin, the blockchain’s length grew very quickly: according to Quandl, it was 27 GB in early 2015 and rose to 74 by mid-2016. The bitcoin, whose system is modeled on that of the former gold standard currencies, is generated through complex computer transactions, which become increasingly complex over time, as for an increasingly depleted goldmine in which production costs rise.
The bitcoin is just one of the many systems being developed without concern for their energy impact. In response to the climate issue, their promoters act as if it does not exist, or as if alternative energy solutions existed. An increasingly high price to pay Yet decarbonizing the energy system is a vast issue, involving major risks. And the proposed technical solutions in this area offer no guarantees of being able to handle the massive and global increase in energy consumption, while still reducing greenhouse gas emissions. France, and consumes as much energy, on the global scale, as aviation. Your donation helps deliver fact-based journalism.
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