New research reveals that each transaction involving Bitcoin results in the wastage of water equivalent to filling up an entire swimming pool, highlighting the significant environmental consequences associated with cryptocurrencies. It’s water usage has significantly increased, with a rise of 166% from 2020 to 2021.
Each Bitcoin transaction is estimated to consume over 16,000 liters of water, which is approximately six million times more than the water used in a credit card transaction.
Bitcoin mining consumed approximately 1,600 gigaliters in 2021, and this number could increase to 2,200 gigaliters in the current year, with the US contributing around 35 gigaliters. The rise in consumption is mainly due to the rising value of Bitcoin, which incentivizes more mining.
A massive quantity of water is necessary to cool the continuously operating computers that mine and process these coin. This energy-intensive task consumes an excessive amount of energy, equivalent to that of a small nation.
The energy bill is an important factor in the research calculations. The majority of the water footprint is due to the water used in producing the electricity for Bitcoin, although the cooling systems also contribute significantly to the overall proportion.
There is at least one major cryptocurrency, however, that works around this: Ethereum, which last year started using “proof of stake” instead of work to validate transactions without any mining whatsoever, cutting its energy bill by 99 percent.
Short of ditching crypto entirely, switching them over to more efficient systems could cause “all the electricity consumption” and “associated water consumption” to “disappear overnight.”
Moreover, adopting renewable energy sources and transitioning to cooling systems that either utilize recycled water or eliminate water usage altogether could significantly mitigate the detrimental environmental impact of crypto mining. This multi-pronged approach would not only address the carbon footprint but also reduce water consumption, fostering a more sustainable future for the industry.
Reference- The Verge, BBC, Futurism, Study Published Journal Cell Reports Sustainability, Business Insider