Of all the ways there are to obtain bitcoin, the one that costs the most is mining. Mining refers to the process of obtaining bitcoins by solving a complex mathematical problem by using high-speed computing machinery. Bitcoin is then awarded to the miner as an incentive for unlocking a block. Each block is approved by following a consensus mechanism. The consensus mechanism (Proof of Work) used by bitcoin to verify transactions over the entire network. It has now been more than a decade since bitcoin was first introduced, and mining bitcoin has become a colossal feat. This complexity has been created due to the fact that the high-speed computing machinery that is utilized for the purposes of mining eats up a large amount of energy.
All facts considered, banning mining of bitcoin due to its input to the hazardous effect on the environment cannot be considered a viable option. The reason being, that bitcoin cannot be obtained without putting in the work, hence the name of its consensus mechanism proof of work. Without mining, bitcoin will sit locked and out of circulation. Additionally, bitcoin mining is considered the most profitable, so the idea of switching to mine other cryptocurrencies is never welcomed by the miners, who have invested thousands of dollars to obtain the high-speed mining machinery.
Most of the energy that is being consumed in the world now comprises non-renewable energy which refers to the energy produced by burning fuels and coal. These resources being consumed to produce electricity are already damaging the environment as it is, with the additional burden of powering crypto-mining machinery, the effects have been extremely detrimental. It was estimated that the amount of energy that is being used to mine bitcoin could power entire countries. All the harmful emissions have been destroying the environment and it is a great cause for concern.
Fortunately, some of the people have started to take initiative in order to minimize the carbon print. This involves switching from non-renewable sources of energy to renewable sources. Some source it from solar panels, whereas some have set up entire wind farms to power their mining pools. Not only bitcoin miners but various blockchain-based startups have come aboard. It was found in a study that the bitcoin mining industry consumes about 4.7 GW of power. 74.1% of this power is sourced from renewable sources. Granted this accounts for more than half of it, but still, this has lowered from 77.8%. This change has happened due to the migration of bitcoin miners from regions, like Oregon, where renewable sources are predominantly used, to regions that used fossil-based energy, like Iran.
Mining cannot be halted for those who have invested thousands of dollars to mine bitcoin. However, they can switch to green energy sources. Hence, it is better for the miners to relocate to places where there is an abundance of green sources of energy, so they can benefit from mining without hurting the environment.
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