Why Bitcoin Is Bad for the Environment

Dogecoin, a cryptocurrency that was created as a spoof, has risen in value by eight thousand per cent since January, owing to a combination of GameStop-style pumping and boosterish tweets from Elon Musk.

Bitcoin mining is, of course, purely metaphorical, but the results can be every bit as destructive as with the real thing.

According to the Web site Digiconomist, a single bitcoin transaction uses the same amount of power that the average American household consumes in a month, and is responsible for roughly a million times more carbon emissions than a single Visa transaction.

In 2017, under the ownership of Greenidge Generation Holdings, the plant reportedly began operating as a “peaker plant,” to provide power to the grid during times of high demand.

Miners today receive 6.25 bitcoins per block, which, at current values, are worth more than three hundred thousand dollars.

But, as Ari Juels, a computer scientist at Cornell Tech, recently explained to me, the arrangement seems to have been designed with equity in mind.

“What was quickly discovered is that specialized computing devices—so-called mining rigs—are much, much more effective at solving these puzzles,” Juels said.

Russia is also a bitcoin-mining center—there are big operations in Siberia, where cold temperatures help keep rig farms from overheating—as is Iran, where electricity is subsidized.

A few years ago, miners “descended upon” the city of Plattsburgh, New York, about a hundred and fifty miles north of Albany, which gets much of its electricity from hydroelectric dams on the St.

Buying a generating station, as Greenidge Generation Holdings has done, is a way around the problem.

To expand its operations in Dresden, Greenidge will have to burn more and more natural gas, thus producing correspondingly more greenhouse-gas emissions.

“This is a test case,” Joseph Campbell, the president of Seneca Lake Guardian, the group that organized the march, told WRFI, an Ithaca radio station.

Greenidge may become the first mining firm with a “wholly-owned power plant,” but, unless the state or federal government steps in, it won’t be the last: another cryptocurrency firm, Digihost International, has already applied to New York State’s Public Service Commission for permission to purchase a natural-gas-burning station near Buffalo.

Andrew Yang, the former Presidential candidate who’s now running for mayor of New York City, has said that he wants to turn the city into a cryptocurrency-mining hub.

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