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Bitcoin Carbon Footprint: Mining Pools Based Estimate Methodology

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Abstract

The paper deals with the cryptoeconomy impact on the environment. The term 'cryptoeconomy' is used for designating the emerging industry around cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Cryptocurrency mining consumes a lot of electricity. As of September 2019, the estimated annual miners' electricity consumption was 78.93 TWh. According to the upper boundary estimation, miners' carbon dioxide emissions were about 80.43 million tons of CO2, which corresponds to 0.24% of the world's total carbon dioxide emissions. The aim of this paper is to develop bitcoin mining carbon footprint estimation methodology. The suggested method is based on the miners' geographical distribution obtained by analyzing the traffic of mining pools login pages. The methodology includes 1) assessment of the miners' geographical distribution; 2) estimation of the miners' carbon dioxide emissions by regions. According to the proposed methodology, miners' carbon dioxide emissions are about 44.12 million tons per year (0.13% of the world's total emissions), which is two times lower than the upper boundary estimate.

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... Küfeoğlu and Özkuran [24] emphasizes the importance of detailed consideration of mining hardware when estimating power usage. Kononova and Dek [21] further considers IPO filings of major hardware manufacturers, insights on mining facility operations, and mining pool compositions in their estimates. Bendiksen and Gibbons [4], building on research developed in Bendiksen and Gibbons [3], argue that Bitcoin mining is concentrated in geographic regions with high renewable energy penetration and estimate that 73% of mining, circa 2019, uses renewable energy. ...
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