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There has been a lot of talk online about the environmental and energy footprint of Bitcoin mining. Critics have thrown around numbers like the 1,100 percent growth rate of Bitcoin over the last few years and the fact that Bitcoin mining consumes the same amount of energy today as a small sized country.
While there is some truth to the numbers, the problem is with the projections laid out based on these numbers. The expectation of energy consumption by Bitcoin mining is that it will be higher than the energy available on the planet by 2020. Estimates like these are simply too narrow-minded and blatantly disingenuous.
One Bitcoin miner by the Reddit username ‘candese’ recently proved that by going solar and saving 75% on costs. In a post that received a lot of attention by the Bitcoin community on the social media site Reddit, the miner talked about the process and its advantages. He also said that while the solar is not the cheapest energy production option available, it still allowed him to save on costs like grid-transfer and taxes.
Many from the community applaud the shift to solar energy. Talking about his setup candese said, “[I’m using] a bunch of S9’s which is not the best you can get but I had them for a few years. I also run my servers, Casanode, ipfsnode and some more exotic mining as well. So heating is taken care of, living in a cold country.” One other user gave further advice on cutting costs by “Setting up a corporation and deduct the depreciation of the miners and panels.” Candese was grateful for the advice.
The steps involved in processing Bitcoin transactions consist of processors solving complex mathematical problems which require a huge amount of energy. However, when compared to other market leading industries such as banking, Bitcoin is a much greener option. Bitcoin is a piece of software. it can be improved upon to perform better and conservatively when it comes to energy consumption.
Furthermore, criticizing the Bitcoin mining industry is made possible due to the fact that it is measurable. There is no definite and reliable way to measure the environmental effect of other big industries. However, there are hundreds of thousands of banks around the world today. Each with their own little ecosystem consuming big chunks of energy. Which means that Bitcoin could actually be our ‘green energy alternative’ to the current financial systems in place.