Bitcoin-Mining Carbon Emissions Contributed 0.8 Percent Globally, Insignificant Compared to Uses: Report

Michael Saylor called BTC mining’s carbon emissions a “rounding error”.

Bitcoin-Mining Carbon Emissions Contributed 0.8 Percent Globally, Insignificant Compared to Uses: Report

Photo Credit: Reuters

Global Bitcoin mining network emitted 42Mt of CO2 in 2021

  • China and US produce more CO2 than global bitcoin mining network
  • Production of gold and fiat currencies also heavy CO2 emitters
  • Findings second American entrepreneur Michael Saylor

Presently, the power-consuming challenges of crypto mining is drawing major criticism from several parts of the world. Bitcoin mining contributed only 0.8 percent of world's total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in a year, a new study by research platform CoinShares has revealed. The study claims that the global Bitcoin mining network emitted 42 megatons (Mt) of CO2 in 2021, which is said to be an insignificant figure.

In order to narrow down the comparison, the report quoted the amount of carbon contributions that were recorded from China and the US.

“As a frame of reference, countries with large industrial bases such as the United States and China emitted 5,830Mt and 11,580Mt of CO2 in 2016, respectively,” CoinShares claimed.

The findings come at a time nations such as India, Russia, and the US are analysing the crypto sector from all angles, in order to bring in regulatory frameworks.

To mine or generate a Bitcoin, complex proof-of-work algorithms require to be solved on advanced computers. These machines require to be always plugged into electrical sources, due to which the mining process consumes loads of electricity. This nature of Bitcoin mining has linked the process to potential heavy carbon emitters.

About 60 percent of Bitcoin-mining activity is powered by fossil fuels, which is on the low end of industry estimates, with some putting the figure as low as 25 percent.

The observations from CoinShares further argued that while crypto mining is being scrutinised for carbon emissions, nothing is being said about the CO2 amounts generated in the production of traditional valuable goods.

“Estimates of the emissions caused by minting and printing fiat currencies come in around 8Mt per year and the gold industry is estimated to generate between 100 and 145Mt of CO2 emissions annually,” it noted.

The results of this report very much resemble the views of American businessman Michael Saylor, who owns business intelligence firm MicroStrategy.

A “rounding error” is what Saylor called BTC mining's carbon emissions while speaking at the Bitcoin Mining Council's (BMC) quarterly briefing last month.

The entrepreneur has also defended Bitcoins against Elon Musk, who has revoked BTC adoption citing environmental concerns.

Interested in cryptocurrency? We discuss all things crypto with WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty and WeekendInvesting founder Alok Jain on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
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Radhika Parashar
Radhika Parashar is a senior correspondent for Gadgets 360. She has been reporting on tech and telecom for the last three years now and will be focussing on writing about all things crypto. Besides this, she is a major sitcom nerd and often replies in Chandler Bing and Michael Scott references. For tips or queries you could reach out to her at More
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