Australian-based Long Future Foundation calls on delegates of the Block Chain summit hosted by Richard Branson on his private island to address the sustainability issues of the bitcoin.
Bitcoin mining can become too disastrous for the planet if the cryptocurrency price goes further up, affirms the Australian sustainability think tank. Indeed, the calculator created by Long Future shows that bitcoin mining might one day consume 13,140 TWh of electricity per annum – the amount of energy needed to power 1.5 bn homes or 57,92% of global electricity supply.
- says Guy Lane, spokesperson for the Long Future Foundation.
The calculations are based on the assumptions that the price of the cryptocurrency will go up to $1 million and that people would be ready to spend $0.5 million on electricity to mine the precious bitcoin. However far from reality that supposition might actually seem, Lane is persuaded that if bitcoin adoption takes steam, the figure is not improbable:
It is not the first criticism of bitcoin voiced by Guy Lane. Already in December 2013, he published an analysis of the carbon footprint of the bitcoin network telling that bitcoin footprint is a “clear and present danger” to Earth and called on the bitcoin community to change algorithms or to “shift allegiances to a cryptocurrency that is ecologically sustainable”.
However, as remarked by Sam Cole, co-founder of KnCMiner AB, the calculation does not take into account the fact that number of coins that can be mined halves every four years. Long Future assumes a daily production of 3,600 BTC per day, but the next year the number is going to drop to 1,800 BTC and by 2021 to only 900 BTC. There are also hopes that the efficiency of bitcoin mining will grow so the electricity consumption and CO2 emission would decrease.
Finally, bitcoin defenders point to the fact that existing currency systems might be even more detrimental to the environment, with their need in financial middlemen and printing cash. An article published on May 12th, 2015, by Amagi Metals, pretends that bitcoin is a means of promoting eco-sustainability and should be adopted by environmentalists and eco-entrepreneurs.