A group of researchers has warned China that in the absence of stricter regulations and policy changes, the amount of bitcoin mining carried out in the country could jeopardize global green efforts.The carbon associated with bitcoin mining is accelerating rapidly in China, researchers say in work published this week in Nature Communications .
Researchers say the Majority of the mining process is carried out in China, with miners in the country accounting for over 75% of the hash power of the bitcoin network. According to them, this can be attributed to the proximity of manufacturers of specialized equipment and access to cheap electricity. They predict that the annual energy consumption of bitcoin alone will generate 130.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions over the next three years in China alone.
"By studying Carbon emissions flows from Bitcoin blockchain mining in China using a basic Bitcoin blockchain carbon emissions model, we find that without any political intervention , the annual energy consumption of this blockchain in China devwould peak in 2024 at 296.59 Twh and generate 130.5 million tons of carbon emissions as a result, ”say researchers from Tsinghua University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. “Internationally, this emissions production would exceed the total annualized greenhouse gas emissions production of the Czech Republic and Qatar.
"Mining equipment has evolved
The researchers explain that the abandonment of the current policy of punitive carbon tax in favor of a site regulation policy that induces changes in the energy consumption structure of mining activities is more effective in limiting carbon emissions from the operation of the Bitcoin blockchain. According to them, the attractive financial incentive of bitcoin mining has sparked an arms race in thefield of dedicated mining hardware.
"Mining hardware has evolved. Initially, miners used the basic central processing unit (CPU) on general purpose computers. Then, a change took place towards the graphics processing unit (GPU) which offered more power and higher hash rates than the CPU ”, they specify. “Nonetheless, the rapid development of hardware and fierce competition have dramatically increased the capital expenditure for bitcoin mining. "
The study claims that during the period from January 1, 2016 to June 10, 2018, up to 13 million tonnes of CO2 emissions can be attributed to the Bitcoin blockchain. “China is a key signatory to the Paris Agreement. However, without appropriate interventions and feasible policies, the intensive Bitcoin blockchain operation in China can quickly develop as a threat that could potentially undermine the industry.'effort to reduce emissions in the country ”, they warn.