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90.93 million tons of carbon dioxide per year are generated by Bitcoin

90.93 million tons of carbon dioxide per year are generated by Bitcoin

The cryptocurrency Bitcoin currently has a carbon footprint twice that of Switzerland. This emerges from an assessment conducted by crypto portal Digiconomist. Annually, the cryptocurrency network currently produces 90.93 million tons of carbon dioxide. For comparison: greenhouse gas emissions in Switzerland recently amounted to about 45 million tons per year. The emissions are caused by the energy-consuming blockchain technology in the background.

The Bitcoin network is based on blockchain technology. The challenge is to validate transactions on the blockchain in a forgery-resistant way. Until now, the “Proof of Work” process has been used in these systems. Complex cryptographic puzzles must be solved.

Whoever solves the puzzle first has to write the next entry in the blockchain and receives a reward in the form of Bitcoin. This process is also called “mining” because it “mines” new cryptocurrencies. In mining, many players compete with each other, but only one emerges in the end. This is one of the reasons why this process consumes a lot of electricity. In many places this also comes from fossil sources, which explains the high carbon dioxide emissions.

According to Digiconomist, a single Bitcoin transaction currently creates as much carbon dioxide as watching about 112,000 hours of YouTube videos — or processing 1.5 million credit card transactions.

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