Miners attempting to circumvent a Chinese ban risk increasing America’s carbon footprint.
According to University of Cambridge experts, the United States has overtaken China as the world leader in bitcoin mining following China’s prohibition earlier this year.
Researchers from the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) revealed in an update to the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index (CBECI) that cryptocurrency mining in China has practically vanished after accounting for over 75% of worldwide share in September 2019. Before China’s ban was announced earlier this year, the country’s share of the worldwide market was roughly 38%, a figure that other prominent cryptocurrency miners across the world have since worked to replace.
According to CBECI researchers, the worldwide Bitcoin network hashrate credited to the United States reached just over 35% at the end of August, up roughly 20% from April. Following the United States on the list of worldwide leaders are Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation, with Canada, Ireland, Malaysia, and Germany each accounting for 4% or more of the global share.
Total hashrate is defined by the CBECI as “the total processing power of all mining devices attempting to solve the puzzle at any one time.” Due to multiple variables in the cryptocurrency mining process, such as miner anonymity and the various types of tools they use, the amount of electricity Bitcoin requires can be calculated but not explicitly determined.
“If the August data updates are any indicator of the future, then the recovery will be concentrated on the largest share gainers—the United States, Kazakhstan, and the Russian Federation,” CCAF’s Michel Rauchs said on Wednesday.
According to CNBC, Bitcoin’s carbon footprint is similar to the annual carbon footprints of countries such as New Zealand and the Netherlands. Bitcoin’s “enormously massive” energy consumption, according to Rauchs, account for around 0.5 percent of the total amount of energy consumed globally. Even yet, he pointed out that Bitcoin consumes less energy than items in the home that are left plugged in even when not in use in the United States.
While the CBECI has cautioned people who make “strong statements” about the risks cryptocurrencies poses to a country’s carbon footprint, its researchers have acknowledged initiatives to resolve concerns about Bitcoin’s carbon footprint. This is a condensed version of the information.