A new study by University of Hawaii at Manoa finds that if Bitcoin is employed at similar rates at which other technologies have been incorporated, it could produce enough emissions to raise global temperatures by 2°C.
Acquiring with bitcoins and several other cryptocurrencies, which are forms of currency that exist digitally through encryption, needs large amounts of electricity. Bitcoin purchases create transactions that are recorded and processed by a group of individuals referred to as miners.
Miners group every Bitcoin transaction made during a specific timeframe into a block. Blocks are then added to the chain, which is the public ledger. The verification process by miners, who compete to decrypt a computationally demanding proof-of-work in exchange for bitcoins, entails large amounts of electricity.
Researchers also studied how other technologies have been adopted by society, and created situations to estimate the collective emissions of Bitcoin, should it grow at the rate that other technologies have been incorporated.
The team found that if Bitcoin is incorporated even at the slowest rate at which other technologies have been incorporated, its aggregate emissions will be enough to warm the planet above 2°C in just 22 years. If incorporated at the average rate of other technologies, it is closer to 16 years.