Bitcoin Mining Is More Polluting And Energy-Intensive Than Gold Mining - Digitconomist
(Kitco News) - Among a few studies done on gold versus bitcoin mining pollution, one blockchain consultant pointed his finger at the latter.
“When you’re deciding whether to hold physical gold or Bitcoin, gold might just be the greener option, and it has the added benefit that it will continue to function even if mining stops completely,” Alex de Vries, founder of cryptocurrency tracking site Digitconomist, said in a post.
In order to get a fair comparison, de Vries said he analyzed “the average electricity consumed to generate one Bitcoin against the average energy consumed to mine one Bitcoin worth of gold.”
According to the analysis, bitcoin mining uses 2.8 times more energy than gold mining per unit mined “in the most optimistic case” — when bitcoin miners use the most energy-efficient computers.
In the worst-case scenario, bitcoin mining uses at least 6 times more energy than gold mining.
But, the story does not even end here, with de Vries stating that bitcoin mining is also a less environmentally friendly since it leaves a bigger carbon footprint.
More specifically, in the best-case scenario bitcoin mining produces 3.4 times more carbon dioxide per unit mined than gold mining, and in the worst-case scenario 7.9 times more.
To calculate bitcoin’s consumption, de Vries used his own Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index and January’s bitcoin prices.
Important to keep in mind though that the comparison changes when viewed from the perspective of how many bitcoins are mined versus ounces of gold.
Digiconomist said that most recent data points to about $134 billion worth of gold being mined every year, while bitcoin miners get their hands on only around $4.56 billion worth of the digital currency. So, even though bitcoin mining is more energy-intensive per unit mined, its carbon emissions are still at a lower on a global scale.