Guardian Environment – Bitcoin Mining Network Created 33,800 Tons of Electronic Waste in 2020
You’ve undoubtedly read of a slew of Bitcoin-related energy-related hacks already though. There’s much more, and the most recent assault is now linked to hardware waste. According to a recent research, the quantity of electronic trash generated by a single Bitcoin transaction is equivalent to discarding two iPhone 12s.
Bitcoin mining, the mechanism by which new BTC is mined and blocks are produced, has grown from a simple pastime performed on a laptop to a sophisticated and costly game performed with powerful ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits).
And, with latest tech that saves power and increases production appearing once every months, miners must purchase the most recent miners on a regular basis to keep pace. These ASIC devices are the target of the most recent assault by a consortium of researchers from Europe and the United States. They say that these miners are abandoning tens of thousands of tonnes of mining hardware every year, adding to the ever-increasing ecological disaster.
The average lifetime of a Bitcoin mining equipment, according to the experts, is 1.29 years. As a consequence of the 112.5 million transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain in 2020, 33,800 tonnes of electronic trash were generated. The trash totaled 30,700 tonnes in the fiscal year ending in May 2021. This is much more electronic trash than all of the tiny IT and telecommunications hardware discarded in the Netherlands combined.
According to The Guardian, this equates to 9.5 ounces for every trade, which is roughly the weight of two iPhone 12 minis. “Bitcoin miners churn through an increasing quantity of relatively brief hardware, which may aggravate the increase in worldwide electronic waste,” the researchers, headed by Dutch central bank data scientist Alex De Vries and Christian Stoll of the MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research, said.
“E-waste poses a rising danger to our eco system,” they said, “from hazardous compounds and heavy metals seeping into soils to air and water pollution stemming from poor recycling.”
Waste from one bitcoin transaction ‘like binning two iPhones’ https://t.co/FxCe67Sbgc
— Guardian Environment (@guardianeco) September 17, 2021
According to De Vries and Stoll, the Bitcoin blockchain should explore methods to reduce its e-waste impact. They proposed switching to the Proof-of-Stake consensus method as one approach to do this. They praised Ethereum for initiating the transition. (This isn’t the first time the Bitcoin network has been encouraged to convert to PoS, but it’s typically for grounds of energy saving rather than e-waste.) “If that ever occurs in Bitcoin, then this money might really become viable, but nobody in Bitcoin is concentrating on it right now,” De Vries told The Independent.