Bitcoin’s Carbon Footprint – a fair comparison
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Bitcoin’s Carbon Footprint – a fair comparison

Bitcoin’s Carbon Footprint – a fair comparison

Bitcoin is recognised as a store of value making it comparable to gold. In 2020, 3,200 tonnes of gold was mined equating to approximately 90,301,440 million tonnes of CO2 emitted.

In comparison Bitcoin is estimated to emit around 37 million tonnes of CO2 over the course of 2021, with China powering 65% of the hash rate in March 2021. China pledges to be net zero by 2050 along with most of the world under the Paris agreement. Under the assumption this is achieved this would indicate Bitcoin would be powered by renewable energy by 2050 making it a zero carbon technology. In addition, gold mining is renowned to be one of the most destructive industries responsible for polluting drinking water with cyanide, mercury and other heavy metals, whilst destroying pristine environments and causing damaging health effects. Removing reliance on the need for gold not only has the potential to decarbonise the gold reserve industry but also reduces these negative environmental and health impacts. However, the reliance on countries sticking to the Paris Agreement is needed in order to decarbonise Bitcoin.

Sources

Bitcoin CO2 footprint: https://digiconomist.net/bitcoin-energy-consumption/

2020 gold produced: https://www.statista.com/statistics/264628/world-mine-production-of-gold/

Gold CO2 estimate: https://www.spglobal.com/marketintelligence/en/news-insights/blog/greenhouse-gas-and-gold-mines-nearly-1-ton-of-co2-emitted-per-ounce-of-gold-produced-in-2019

Bitcoin Index: https://cbeci.org

Paris Agreement: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_Agreement

Environmental impact of gold: https://www.earthworks.org/campaigns/no-dirty-gold/impacts/

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