Does crypto mining pose an environmental threat?

Very recently, one of the high flyers in the finance world raised concern about the environmental threat mining of cryptocurrencies poses. His avalanches of tweets sent the prices of major coins on a downward spiral.

This week on WhatsApp Conversation, we sampled people’s opinions on the issue. Below are their responses.

 

Ezekiel Kayode

Yes, it obviously does. It takes a lot of computation to mine these cryptos. The electrical consumption is reflected in watts in order of billions, if not more, over the course of a year.  Where do they get these energies from? Fossil fuels largely since renewable energy haven’t taken over the world. Think of the C02 and CH4 emissions from these and subsequent warming of the troposphere.

 

Tosin Awoniyi

As we all know that cryptocurrency mining is painstakingly  costly, one can do it if one is technologically inclined. The mining of cryptocurrency poses an environmental threat because “institutional investors continue to adopt bitcoin,” and one concern that has come up is its “connection to energy and environmental issues.” Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) experts have argued that cryptocurrency strains the environment because of all the energy it takes to mine a single bitcoin.

 

Enoch Olajubi

At some point, there will have to be the need for accountability. With each cryptocurrency, the rising electricity requirements to produce a single coin can lead to an almost inevitable cliff of negative net social benefit. So, when you look at a coin like Bitcoin, mining a new unit will cost a lot of energy.

Crypto currency mining takes energy, the energy that could be rechanneled for better usage.

 

Jumoke Salako

Yes, cryptocurrencies utilise a lot of energy. Just like other activities of man, traditional banking also poses a threat to energy usage. This is to say we should make cryptocurrency the culprit here.  That said, it is relative and dependent on how you look at it. The energy that a lot of miners use is environmentally friendly. More miners should embrace environmentally friendly alternatives, then this conversation will be sorted.

 

Jane Kazeem

When you are looking at energy consumption by crypto currencies, it is thoughtful to look at the different approaches that the mining operation utilises in rewarding miners. The cryptocurrency project might use proof of work; this is the most energy-consuming concept when cryptocurrency mining is discussed. Another reward system is the proof of stake mining. It is a technological upgrade that could drastically reduce the environmental footprint that crypto requires. If more coins move to the proof of staking mining system, the energy consumption will reduce drastically, and the environmental threat issue could be resolved.

 

Mojeeb Jubril

Yes, cryptocurrencies utilise a lot of energy. Enough to pose an environmental threat if it goes unchecked. These astronomical energy costs are due to the competitive nature of proof-of-work blockchains. Instead of storing account balances in a central database, cryptocurrency transactions are recorded by a distributed network of miners, incentivised by block rewards. These specialised computers are engaged in a computational race to record new blocks, which can only be created by solving cryptographic puzzles.

 

Shine Godswill

Let’s get a few things straight. Bit coin, the most widely-known cryptocurrency network, uses 121 terawatt-hours of electricity every year, as the BBC reported this year —more than the entire country of Argentina. The Ethereum network uses as much power as the entire nation of Qatar; well, the network caters to a lot of coins, though.

The cryptocurrency network causes environmental issues, and yes, there are no regulatory agencies because the entire cryptocurrency system is decentralised. At some point, there must be a reckoning, a form of responsibility if the crypto world does not want to see a revolt.

According to researchers at the University of Cambridge, around 65% of bitcoin mining takes place in China, a country that gets most of its electricity by burning coal. Coal and other fossil fuels are currently a major source of electricity worldwide, both for cryptocurrency mining operations and other industries. However, burning coal is a significant contributor to climate change as a result of the carbon dioxide that the process produces.

China is also one of the countries that default the most when it comes to reducing greenhouse emissions.

 

Next week’s question is: should sex work be normalised and treated as normal work? To be part of the next edition, send your response to 08136601345 via WhatsApp or SMS.

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