In almost every other online publication on technology or finance is an article on why Bitcoin mining is unsustainable and could lead to our doom. This industry has been demonized by many and you’d be forgiven for thinking it could lead to humanity’s demise. The Bitcoin mining process is well known to be quite energy intensive, and many have blown it out of proportion with misleading reports and statistics. So, is Bitcoin mining sustainable?
Unsurprisingly, the Bitcoin mining FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) has been spread by mainstream media outlets. These outlets were also quick to dismiss Bitcoin a few years ago as a currency for criminals, and later, as a currency for just a few geeks and nerds in online chatrooms. These myths have been debunked over time, with Bitcoin scaling to global levels and being used as a store of value as well as a medium of trade.
The one myth that has stuck is that Bitcoin mining is unsustainable. There have been studies that have supported this myth, but many of them have been debunked by experts in the technology sector as well as the energy sector.
For one, the insinuation that the majority of Bitcoin mining is powered by coal-fired power plants, especially in China has been debunked of late. While China continues to account for a big portion of the Bitcoin miners, they have continued to move away from the use of coal into renewable sources.
Marc Bevand, an independent researcher and angel investor explained, “Because miners are extremely sensitive to electricity prices, they tend to locate in areas where electricity is cheap, which most often is where renewables are used: hydro, solar, wind. This gives electric utilities an incentive to further develop renewables, which reduces their cost, makes them more competitive, and hopefully accelerates the transition away from fossil fuel power plants.”
And indeed, some of the regions that have wooed many Bitcoin miners in recent years are those that produce hydroelectric power. One of these is Canada, whose province of Quebec has become a miner’s haven.
British crypto startup CoinShares supported the switch with a study
Some of the largest Bitcoin mining companies use green energy exclusively including Genesis Mining which is based in Iceland and which enables cloud mining for its clients.
And as with any other emerging industry, the technology is developing and becoming more efficient with each passing day. While initially a normal computer could mine Bitcoin, it’s now a more complicated process marked by advanced ASIC chips. However, ASIC manufacturers have continued to improve on the chips, making them more energy efficient and faster.
Bitcoin mining is sustainable and as the industry continues to move towards green energy and more efficient mining hardware, it will only get better.