In a new report released by CoinShares on Monday, the firm estimated that the () mining network emitted 42 megatons, or Mt, (1Mt = 1 million tons) of carbon dioxide, or CO2, in 2021. In context, the figure is equivalent to less than 0.08% of the total world emissions of 49,360 Mts of CO2 in the same year. CoinShares arrived at these figures using a variety of estimates about the efficiency of the Bitcoin network, its power usage, hardware, etc., on a global scale. Therefore, it may not reflect the actual CO2 emission of the network. However, the report’s estimate of global CO2 emission is mostly in line with industry figures.
In addition, the report estimates the total electricity consumption of the Bitcoin network at 89 terawatt-hours (TWh), a figure much lower than the estimates made by an institution such as the University of Cambridge. Especially considering that the hash rate of the Bitcoin network has reached new all-time highs. That said, electricity consumption alone is not a true contextual measure of the environmental impact of the Bitcoin network. This is because global CO2 emissions come from many sources, like private cars to begin with.
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The report sheds light on a growing debate about the environmental impact of Bitcoin mining. For example, influencers like Elon Musk have rescinded their adoption of Bitcoin for business use in the past due to concerns about power consumption. The CoinShares report suggests that roughly 60% of Bitcoin mining activity comes from fossil fuels, which is at the lower end of the industry estimate, as some have put the metric at a mere 25%. However, if the report’s claims are accurate, they show that Bitcoin’s global environmental impact is negligible from a global standpoint.
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