Although Bitcoin mining is still a lucrative industry, its negative impact on the environment cannot be underestimated.
According to new research conducted by PwC's blockchain expert Alex de Vries, 98% of existing cryptocurrency mining hardware will become useless and it is likely to generate a large amount of electronic waste.
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A fierce match
With the continuous increase in hash rate and mining difficulty, competition in the mining industry is becoming increasingly fierce. After halving (which will happen in about ten weeks), older mining equipment will become obsolete.
TradeBlock recently estimated that even after 30% of the miners are upgraded to Bitmain's latest generation Antminer S17 + miner after the mine's supply is reduced, the price of BTC must increase to $ 15,062.
"The shocking thing is that the average lifespan of a Bitcoin mining machine is one and a half years, because we will have a new generation of machines that are better at performing these calculations," de Vries wrote.
De Vries writes that given that 98% of older ASIC miners have only one use case for mining, they will go straight to the dump after they become obsolete. BTC has produced more e-waste than Luxembourg as a whole (over 10,000 tons per year) and this number is expected to increase after halving.
In addition to generating a lot of garbage, bitcoin now consumes more electricity than Chile, and a bitcoin transaction releases more carbon dioxide than 780,650 Visa transactions.
The energy required to run the cryptocurrency soared to a record annual level of 77.78 terawatt hours, the same as Chile's overall electricity consumption.
According to Alex de Vries' calculations, the carbon footprint of one Bitcoin transaction is the same as the carbon footprint of 780,650 Visa transactions, or 52,043 hours spent watching YouTube.
"People are incredible about this, but the numbers are real."