Recent Analysis Compares Waste From One Bitcoin Transaction To Throwing Out Two iPhones

0 3

There have been many studies that have highlighted the carbon footprint and electricity usage problems of Bitcoin transactions. Founder of Digiconomist Alex de Vries and researcher at MIT’s Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research, Christian Stoll, released a new study that shines a light on the electronic waste that Bitcoin generates.

Related Reading | How Elon Musk Is The Answer To Bitcoin Energy FUD

This study, “titled Bitcoin’s growing e-waste problem”, provides new insights into another major component of Bitcoin’s wasteful design.

The Electronic Waste Problem Of Bitcoin

Most studies have ignored the fact that Bitcoin miners go through a large amount of short-lived hardware that could increase global electronic waste growth.

“E-waste represents a growing threat to our environment, from toxic chemicals and heavy metals leaching into soils, to air and water pollutions caused by improper recycling.”
According to the study, a single transaction generates 272 grams of e-waste, the same amount of electronic waste as throwing two iPhone 12 minis in the bin. In 2020 the bitcoin network processed 112.5m transactions (compared with 539bn processed by traditional payment service providers in 2019).

bitcoin electronic waste generation

bitcoin electronic waste generation“Bitcoin’s annual e-waste generation adds up to 30.7 metric kilotons as of May 2021,” they claim. “This number is comparable to the amount of small IT and telecommunication equipment waste produced by a country like the Netherlands.” This figure could increase to more than 64.4 metric kilotons of waste.
They also point out that the demand for mining hardware already today disrupts the global semiconductor supply chain, which is currently suffering a global shortage due to increased need in the coronavirus pandemic, as well as a US-China trade war and drought in Taiwan.

BTCUSD Chart on TradingView.com

BTCUSD Chart on TradingView.com

BTC trading at $47.6K | Source: BTCUSD on TradingView.com

Additionally, Bitcoin mining has evolved from a simple activity done on a laptop to a complex and very expensive game done through powerful ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits). These ASICs are specifically designed to mine crypto transactions. And as technology changes, miners have to constantly replace their ASICs with newer, more powerful ones to stay competitive. Therefore, these single-purpose ASIC chips quickly become waste. According to the researchers, “The lifespan of bitcoin mining devices remains limited to just 1.29 years,”

Researchers in Europe and the U.S. also claim that miners have been dumping tens of thousands of tonnes every year of ASIC rigs and contributing to the ever-growing environmental challenge.

Alex and Stoll also warn that the e-waste problem will probably grow further if the price of the cryptocurrency continues to rise since it will incentivize further investment in and replacement of ASIC hardware.

Related Reading | Why Bitcoin Could Rise To $53K, Here Are The Risks Bulls Must Overcome

If the community were to try to reduce its e-waste problem, the paper concludes, it would need to replace the bitcoin mining process in “its entirety with a more sustainable alternative,” One of those alternatives is “proof of stake” instead of “proof of work”, as an experimental replacement. “The first miner who finds a PoW [proof of work] that satisfies predetermined conditions broadcasts the block to all nodes in the network. The receiving nodes express their acceptance of the new block by building on top of it”, the paper explains.

Featured image from Interesting Engineering, Chart from TradingView.com
Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

bitcoin
Bitcoin (BTC) $ 61,068.00
ethereum
Ethereum (ETH) $ 3,853.91
binance-coin
Binance Coin (BNB) $ 466.69
cardano
Cardano (ADA) $ 2.19
tether
Tether (USDT) $ 1.00
xrp
XRP (XRP) $ 1.15
solana
Solana (SOL) $ 158.68
polkadot
Polkadot (DOT) $ 41.79
usd-coin
USD Coin (USDC) $ 1.00
dogecoin
Dogecoin (DOGE) $ 0.237222
terra-luna
Terra (LUNA) $ 36.71
uniswap
Uniswap (UNI) $ 27.01
wrapped-bitcoin
Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) $ 61,059.00
binance-usd
Binance USD (BUSD) $ 1.00
avalanche-2
Avalanche (AVAX) $ 58.61
litecoin
Litecoin (LTC) $ 187.07
shiba-inu
Shiba Inu (SHIB) $ 0.000026
chainlink
Chainlink (LINK) $ 27.74
bitcoin-cash
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) $ 632.32
algorand
Algorand (ALGO) $ 1.80
matic-network
Polygon (MATIC) $ 1.52
stellar
Stellar (XLM) $ 0.417983
cosmos
Cosmos (ATOM) $ 33.30
internet-computer
Internet Computer (ICP) $ 46.98
vechain
VeChain (VET) $ 0.120280
axie-infinity
Axie Infinity (AXS) $ 125.86
filecoin
Filecoin (FIL) $ 66.72
ethereum-classic
Ethereum Classic (ETC) $ 54.56
tron
TRON (TRX) $ 0.099126
dai
Dai (DAI) $ 1.00
ftx-token
FTX Token (FTT) $ 56.60
compound-ether
cETH (CETH) $ 77.33
theta-token
Theta Network (THETA) $ 6.16
tezos
Tezos (XTZ) $ 6.90
hedera-hashgraph
Hedera (HBAR) $ 0.373735
staked-ether
Lido Staked Ether (STETH) $ 3,832.17
fantom
Fantom (FTM) $ 2.11
flow
Flow (FLOW) $ 17.07
monero
Monero (XMR) $ 268.68
crypto-com-chain
Crypto.com Coin (CRO) $ 0.192030
elrond-erd-2
Elrond (EGLD) $ 240.86
pancakeswap-token
PancakeSwap (CAKE) $ 19.83
eos
EOS (EOS) $ 4.59
okb
OKB (OKB) $ 16.11
cdai
cDAI (CDAI) $ 0.021756
aave
Aave (AAVE) $ 308.34
near
Near (NEAR) $ 7.87
klay-token
Klaytn (KLAY) $ 1.58
the-graph
The Graph (GRT) $ 0.811459
ecash
eCash (XEC) $ 0.000208
quant-network
Quant (QNT) $ 294.32
compound-usd-coin
cUSDC (CUSDC) $ 0.022345
iota
IOTA (MIOTA) $ 1.31
bitcoin-cash-abc-2
Bitcoin Cash ABC (BCHA) $ 189.57
bitcoin-sv
Bitcoin SV (BSV) $ 172.19
neo
NEO (NEO) $ 44.45
kusama
Kusama (KSM) $ 340.75
waves
Waves (WAVES) $ 29.58
leo-token
LEO Token (LEO) $ 2.91
terrausd
TerraUSD (UST) $ 1.00
olympus
Olympus (OHM) $ 964.01
arweave
Arweave (AR) $ 52.70
huobi-btc
Huobi BTC (HBTC) $ 61,028.00
celsius-degree-token
Celsius Network (CEL) $ 5.66
bittorrent-2
BitTorrent (BTT) $ 0.003639
amp-token
Amp (AMP) $ 0.049772
maker
Maker (MKR) $ 2,586.12
harmony
Harmony (ONE) $ 0.216711
sushi
Sushi (SUSHI) $ 11.66
helium
Helium (HNT) $ 21.59
thorchain
THORChain (RUNE) $ 8.05
blockstack
Stacks (STX) $ 1.95
dash
Dash (DASH) $ 192.90
omisego
OMG Network (OMG) $ 14.05
compound-governance-token
Compound (COMP) $ 316.71
celo
Celo (CELO) $ 5.84
chiliz
Chiliz (CHZ) $ 0.323672
havven
Synthetix Network Token (SNX) $ 9.81
magic-internet-money
Magic Internet Money (MIM) $ 1.01
holotoken
Holo (HOT) $ 0.009234
ecomi
ECOMI (OMI) $ 0.007523
decred
Decred (DCR) $ 120.25
enjincoin
Enjin Coin (ENJ) $ 1.72
nem
NEM (XEM) $ 0.176534
theta-fuel
Theta Fuel (TFUEL) $ 0.286334
zcash
Zcash (ZEC) $ 126.67
xdce-crowd-sale
XDC Network (XDC) $ 0.112955
icon
ICON (ICX) $ 2.02
qtum
Qtum (QTUM) $ 12.77
true-usd
TrueUSD (TUSD) $ 1.00
dydx
dYdX (DYDX) $ 22.27
yearn-finance
yearn.finance (YFI) $ 35,341.00
zilliqa
Zilliqa (ZIL) $ 0.098986
huobi-token
Huobi Token (HT) $ 7.70
telcoin
Telcoin (TEL) $ 0.021403
bitcoin-gold
Bitcoin Gold (BTG) $ 69.56
iostoken
IOST (IOST) $ 0.052748
curve-dao-token
Curve DAO Token (CRV) $ 2.91
mina-protocol
Mina Protocol (MINA) $ 4.21
bitclout
Decentralized Social (DESO) $ 104.34