Scientists at the Technical University of Munich examined the energy consumption data of the 20 largest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization and concluded that altcoin mining also has a significant impact on the environment.

A group of researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) published an article in the scientific journal Joule, which states that bitcoin mining accounts for only 66% of the total electricity consumption of the top 20 cryptocurrencies. In their opinion, global regulators should stop talking only about bitcoin when it comes to the potentially harmful impact of cryptocurrency mining on the environment.

As part of the study, scientists determined the energy consumption of altcoins by analyzing their hash rate and mining equipment. The list of studied cryptocurrencies includes Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Bitcoin SV (BSV), Litecoin (LTC), Monero (XMR), Dash (DASH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Zcash (ZEC), DogeCoin ( DOGE), Bitcoin Gold (BTG), Decred (DCR), RavenCoin (RVN), MonaCoin (MONA), Bytom (BTM), SiaCoin (SC), DigiByte (DGB), Horizen (ZEN), Komodo (KMD) and Bytecoin (BCN).

“Based on the underlying algorithms, current hash rates, and suitable mining devices, we conclude that Bitcoin accounts for 2/3 of the total energy consumption, and understudied cryptocurrencies represent the remaining 1/3. Therefore, understudied currencies add nearly 50% on top of Bitcoin’s energy hunger, which already alone may cause considerable environmental damage."

The research team highlighted that while the crypto industry's need for energy is of concern to environmentalists, much of the research focuses solely on bitcoin and not other cryptocurrencies.

“Energy consumption, per se, is not an issue in the context of climate change. Consequently, the emission factor of electricity depends on the constitution of the generation resource mix, which varies among countries as well as regions. Mining operations cause an additional load that activates additional generation resources. The increase in full-load hours of certain generation resources may lead to fuel switching effects and alter local emission intensities."

The authors of the study are Ulrich Gallersdörfer, Lena Klaassen, Christian Stoll.