Massive use of electricity for cryptocurrency mining will raise global temperature by 2 degrees Celsius in 15 years.

Computer farm
The process of producing cryptocurencies such as Bitcoin by solving mathematical equations uses a lot of electricity to power computer farms.

(— October 31, 2018) — Researchers have found that cryptocurrency mining is more dangerous to our planet than mining coal, Russia Today reports.

Researchers at the University of Hawaii found that cryptocurrency mining could raise global temperature by two degrees Celsius in next 15 years because of its massive electricity usage. Researchers calculated that the electricity used to power computers at cryptocurrency mining farms causes 69 million metric tons of CO2 to be released into the air. That is the amount of CO2 that 15 coal burning power plants emit.

By the end of 2018, mining Bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency, will use half percent of the world’s electricity consumption, and there are thousands of cryptocurrencies available for mining. To generate a code that allows virtual currency such as Bitcoin to be extracted in a virtual world requires calculations that can keep supercomputers busy for years only to mine out a coin or two.

In the mining process computers actually expend energy and computational resources to solve a difficult math problem that verifies a recent block of Bitcoin transactions. For every problem solved a block (code) is added to a “chain” of blocks and new a Bitcoin is generated.  As the Bitcoin network attracts more miners, the mining difficulty increases, which induces a greater need for electrical power.

Given the electricity bill necessary for computers to run 24/7 in pursuit of Bitcoins it is questionable if cryptocurrency mining is worth the effort. However, the digital golden rush is on and many cryptocurrency mining companies have been moving to countries with cheaper electricity.

Researchers calculated that the carbon emissions from power plants as equivalent of electricity that mining computers are using is rising at a slow rate – 2 degrees Celsius in 22 years. However, if adopted at an average rate, it could mean that we could expect the rise of global temperature in next 15 years.

According to environmental and climate change experts, a rise of only 0.5 degrees could have a catastrophic impact to the life on our planet, causing sea levels to rise by 40cm. Given that global temperature has already risen one degree, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report warning that humans must reduce our CO2 emissions by half of the 2010 levels by the year 2030.