Bitcoin mining in China is so demanding on carbon dioxide emissions that it could jeopardize the country’s plan to reduce emissions. This is according to the latest study by academics from Chinese, American and British universities, which was pointed out by the BBC server. China currently accounts for more than 75 percent of global bitcoin mining.
Some rural areas in China are popular with bitcoin miners, mainly due to low electricity prices and the offer of vacant land for server locations. The country also has a relatively easy connection to specialized hardware manufacturers.
Bitcoin mining requires the enormous power of computers, which have to calculate complex mathematical problems, for which the miner receives a share of coins. And these computers need a lot of electricity.
Worldwide, 128.84 terrawatt-hours (TWh) of energy is currently consumed annually to extract bitcoins. This is more than the consumption of countries such as Ukraine or Argentina.
The study was prepared by academics from the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Qinghua University in Beijing, Cornell University in the United States and the British University of Surrey. It was published in the journal Nature Communications.
Looking to the future
If the state does not intervene, according to the study, electricity consumption for the bitcoin industry in China should peak in 2024, when it will be 296.59 TWh. This is more than the total consumption of countries such as Italy and Saudi Arabia in 2016.
That is, countries that finished in 12th place in the ranking of the largest consumers of electricity. This electricity consumption corresponds to emissions of 130.5 million tonnes of carbon per year. This is more than the production of greenhouse gases in 2016 in the Czech Republic and Qatar.
China’s Inner Mongolia region said last month that it plans to ban new cryptocurrency mining projects and halt current activities to reduce energy consumption. The region is located in the north of the country and in 2019 did not meet the energy consumption target set by the central government, for which Beijing reprimanded it.
A possible solution
In response, the region presented plans to reduce energy consumption, which include the completion of existing cryptocurrency projects by April this year and the non-approval of others, CNBC reported.
Interest in bitcoin mining is aroused by their attractive price. Last April, the value of bitcoin was about 7,000 USD, while this year in March it was already 60,000 USD. However, the price is very volatile and subject to significant fluctuations.