Bitcoin Carbon Footprint: Mining Pools Based Estimate Methodology

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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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We present an approach to evaluating the carbon-emitting energy provenance of Bitcoin transactions and transaction outputs. Our approach incorporates published global energy production data and existing state-of-the-art estimates of Bitcoin energy consumption into a scoring algorithm for individual mined blocks. We then present two proposals for deriving scores for transactions based on the coinbase origins of the Bitcoin currency values of the trans-actions' inputs. The first proposal is comparatively simple, and weights coinbase origin contributions to a transaction based on recency in transaction hops from its origin block. The second proposal adjusts the weights of coinbase contributions at each intermediary transaction based on the input and output values of those transactions. Using these methods we are able to associate individual transactions and unspent transaction outputs with specific quantities of atmospheric carbon. Finally, we offer an outline of an incentivization strategy in the form of a blockchain-based carbon-offsetting oracle that would track the creation and exchange of offsets based on the metrics proposed. CCS CONCEPTS • Applied computing → Digital cash; • Hardware → Enterprise level and data centers power issues; Impact on the environment ; Energy metering; • Security and privacy → Economics of security and privacy.
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There are now hundreds of cryptocurrencies in existence and the technological backbone of many of these currencies is blockchain—a digital ledger of transactions. The competitive process of adding blocks to the chain is computation-intensive and requires large energy input. Here we demonstrate a methodology for calculating the minimum power requirements of several cryptocurrency networks and the energy consumed to produce one US dollar’s (US$) worth of digital assets. From 1 January 2016 to 30 June 2018, we estimate that mining Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Monero consumed an average of 17, 7, 7 and 14 MJ to generate one US$, respectively. Comparatively, conventional mining of aluminium, copper, gold, platinum and rare earth oxides consumed 122, 4, 5, 7 and 9 MJ to generate one US$, respectively, indicating that (with the exception of aluminium) cryptomining consumed more energy than mineral mining to produce an equivalent market value. While the market prices of the coins are quite volatile, the network hashrates for three of the four cryptocurrencies have trended consistently upward, suggesting that energy requirements will continue to increase. During this period, we estimate mining for all 4 cryptocurrencies was responsible for 3–15 million tonnes of CO2 emissions. © 2018, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited.
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Bitcoin is a power-hungry cryptocurrency that is increasingly used as an investment and payment system. Here we show that projected Bitcoin usage, should it follow the rate of adoption of other broadly adopted technologies, could alone produce enough CO2 emissions to push warming above 2 °C within less than three decades.
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Participation in the Bitcoin blockchain validation process requires specialized hardware and vast amounts of electricity, which translates into a significant carbon footprint. Here, we demonstrate a methodology for estimating the power consumption associated with Bitcoin’s blockchain based on IPO filings of major hardware manufacturers, insights on mining facility operations, and mining pool compositions. We then translate our power consumption estimate into carbon emissions, using the localization of IP addresses. We determine the annual electricity consumption of Bitcoin, as of November 2018, to be 45.8 TWh and estimate that annual carbon emissions range from 22.0 to 22.9 MtCO2. This means that the emissions produced by Bitcoin sit between the levels produced by the nations of Jordan and Sri Lanka, which is comparable to the level of Kansas City. With this article, we aim to gauge the external costs of Bitcoin and inform the broader debate on the costs and benefits of cryptocurrencies.
In this paper we find that the Bitcoin network, with an electrical energy footprint of 491.4 to 765.4 kWh per transaction on average, is relatively much more energy-hungry than the traditional financial system. Even though it has been argued that renewable energy may help mitigating the environmental impact of this, we find that there exist fundamental challenges in uniting variable renewable energy production with the consistent demand of Bitcoin mining machines. Moreover, we find that the environmental impact of Bitcoin mining reaches beyond its energy use. Continuous increasing energy (cost) efficiency of newer iterations of mining devices ensures that older ones will inevitably be disposed on a regular basis. The resulting electronic waste generation could equal that of a small country like Luxembourg, with a staggering average footprint of four light bulbs worth of electronic waste per processed Bitcoin transaction. Bitcoin will therefore have to address its sustainability problem in another way. This may consist of replacing its mining mechanism with a greener alternative like Proof-of-Stake.
The Bitcoin Mining Network
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The Cost & Sustainability of Bitcoin
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McCook, H. (2018). The Cost & Sustainability of Bitcoin. Retrieved from Sustainability_of_Bitcoin_August_2018_
Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index
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