Cryptocurrencies open up promising opportunities for the future. But the increasing popularity is also attracting the attention of environmentalists. Because the more crypto-miners start working, the more electricity is consumed. In this blog post, we provide an overview of the current situation using Bitcoins as an example, explain the associated problems and list the possible solutions.
In principle, crypto-miners are simply PCs with several graphics cards – the more, the better. Because this computing power of the graphics processors (GPUs) is needed to perform the hash calculations which ultimately generate the cryptocurrencies (explained in simplified terms). However, these calculations also require a lot of power.
Bitcoin mining has a frightening CO2 balance
According to a study from May 2018, the global energy demand for Bitcoin mining amounts to at least 2.55 gigawatts – and an end is not yet in sight. It is estimated that the consumption of the entire Bitcoin network will increase to around 7.67 gigawatts. As a comparison, Austria consumes a total of around 8.2 gigawatts.
The real problem, however, is how this electricity is generated. This energy is mainly generated from fossil fuels. Most of it, by the way, comes from Chinese coal-fired power plants, as they can produce it at very low rates. As a result, the CO2 balance for the mining of Bitcoins is extremely high and thus has a negative impact on the environment.
Solutions for more environmentally friendly mining
The mining of cryptocurrencies must, therefore, become more environmentally friendly, because as already mentioned, energy consumption will continue to rise. One approach would be to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energies. That means solar, hydro and/or wind power, which would make mining much more climate-friendly.
But azultec goes one step further and already starts with the crypto-miners itself: Thanks to various technologies developed in-house, the azultec Cube can convert the electricity required for operation and thus recover up to 72 percent of it. This energy can then, for example, be fed into the in-house heating system or stored. This makes the azultec Cube probably the most efficient mining computer.