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Bitcoin Mining: The Cold, Hard Truth

Last month, The Guardian’s Lauren Artani wrote, “It’s not just the value of bitcoin that has soared in the last year – so has the huge amount of energy it consumes”.

Why, exactly, does bitcoin consume so much energy?

It has a do with the mining process. Like traditional mining. which requires a lot of physical energy, bitcoin mining also requires a lot of electrical energy.

For bitcoin to be created, a computer must solve a complex series of algorithms. Not any old computer, of course, but highly powerful, hugely expensive computers. These computers require enormous amounts of electricity to function.

As bitcoin becomes more difficult to mine, these computers will have to dig deeper, electrically speaking, to produce the goods. Bitcoin operates on the principle of scarcity, meaning only a finite amount of the cryptocurrency can be created (21 million, to be precise). As it becomes more scarce, the algorithms become more complex in nature, and this is what makes the mining process so incredibly expensive. Now, we’re told, bitcoin uses more electricity than Argentina, a country of some 45 million people.

Bitcoin, it seems, is very bad for the environment. So, with that being said, should we stop mining? The simple answer is no, and here’s why.

With climate activists around the world, bitcoin has become a bête noire of sorts. It’s very much in style to write an article lamenting the destruction being caused by the crypto giant.

However, many of the ‘bitcoin bad’ …
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