Digital Assets: Dirty, Dirty Bitcoin

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Bitcoin mining, buying a Tesla with bitcoin and our environment.

According to Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, who was speaking on the Unconfirmed podcast on March 26, bitcoin mined outside the U.S. primarily uses “dirty energy.”

“A part of the problem with Bitcoin is 90% of it is not done in the United States.” He said. “90% of it is done in countries that have dirty energy. So that’s the reason why it’s considered to be a dirty activity.” (Coin Telegraph)

Suarez: The U.S. should set up mining hubs

Because the U.S. has nuclear power, it has “a clean energy supply that’s essentially unlimited,” Suarez said on the podcast.

“It would be to benefit the crypto community if we did more mining in the U.S. because we produce clean energy so it would change that narrative,” he added.

Last month, the BBC reported that bitcoin uses more electricity annually than the whole of Argentina, citing analysis by Cambridge University.

Unfortunately, the crypto’s rising price adds to the incentive to step up mining and reap rewards by running more and more machines.

“It is really by design that Bitcoin consumes that much electricity,” said Michel Rauchs, a researcher at The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, to BBC’s Tech Tent podcast. “This is not something that will change in the future unless the bitcoin price is going to significantly go down.”

Bitcoin and cars

Earlier this month, analysts at Bank of America described bitcoin as an environmentally disastrous asset – they said that the carbon footprint of owning one BTC was equivalent to owning 60 cars.

Talking of cars, Liam Denning, a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering energy, mining, and commodities, said in an opinion piece today that Tesla’s (NASDAQ: TSLA) move to accept bitcoin in payment for its EVs ran counter to the avowed clean energy USP of these vehicles.

Using the Bank of America math, Denning points out that if a customer paid for a new Tesla using bitcoin, the implied carbon footprint of that payment would be about 300 tons – nine times the estimated reduction in emissions for that EV over its lifetime.

“The blend of cultish celebrity, hard cash, and transactional potential enhance bitcoin’s allure and thereby push its price higher,” observes Denning. “The individual, crypto-loving driver isn’t negating emissions savings from their Tesla vehicle; but they are participating in a strange ecosystem that will tend to do so.”

Related Story:   Why Bitcoin Miners Love The Xinjiang Province In China

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