Water Spent When Mining Bitcoins
Crypto Trends & News

This is how much it costs the planet in liters of water to make a single Bitcoin transaction

Cryptocurrencies pose a problem for the environment by using non-renewable energy sources and, to that, the waste of water at a time when there is a shortage of this resource.


One of the most notable complaints about cryptocurrencies is how polluting their creation and transactions can be. Elon Musk eliminated the possibility of purchasing his Tesla electric vehicles with Bitcoins in 2021 and justified it by talking about the use of fossil fuels, especially coal, in the sector. Now, the controversy over this environmental problem has been revived again after the words of financial economist Alex de Vries, a doctoral student at the Free University of Amsterdam (Netherlands).

The aforementioned expert has given the first exhaustive estimate of the water consumption of a Bitcoin in the magazine ‘Cell Reports Sustainability’. According to him, mining virtual currencies involves the waste of a very large amount of water.

Cryptocurrencies: A Problem For The Environment

“Many parts of the world are suffering from droughts and fresh water is an increasingly scarce resource,” de Vries emphasizes. “If we continue to use this valuable resource to make useless calculations, I think the reality is really painful.”

The waste of water produced by the cryptocurrency sector adds to other previous investigations that had already warned about the pollution it produced. In these studies, which caused controversy in their day, they focused above all on electricity consumption.

The professional has based on previous research to calculate how much water can be consumed and has come to the conclusion that Bitcoin mining costs between 8.6 and 35.1 gigalitres per year in the United States.

According to the expert’s estimates, Bitcoin’s water consumption will increase to 2,300 GL by the end of this year, which will be 700 GL more than what he estimates was spent in 2021. Furthermore, he calculates that each transaction on the blockchain of this Cryptocurrency uses about 16,000 liters of water on average, which is about 6.2 million times more than the swipe of a credit card.

How is Water Spent When Mining Bitcoins?

Bitcoin, the most popular virtual currency, is one of the big concerns. Miners around the world compete to solve mathematical equations on the Internet to get a share of the value of this digital money. Every second of the day, around 350 quintillion guesses are made, which involves an enormous use of energy and water.

De Vries assures that “the correct answer emerges every 10 minutes and the rest of the data, quintillions of them, are calculations that are of no use and are therefore immediately discarded.” This process, he says, results in a great waste of water that is used to cool computers in data centers.

Water is also used to lower the temperature of gas and coal power plants responsible for supplying electricity to run computers. Specifically, this cooling water evaporates and then cannot be reused.

“The price of Bitcoin has recently increased and reached its highest point of the year, despite the recent collapse of several cryptocurrency platforms,” ​​says de Vries. “This will have serious consequences, because the higher the price, the greater the impact. Environmental: The most painful thing about cryptocurrency mining is that it uses a lot of computing power and a lot of resources, but these resources are not used to create some type of model, such as artificial intelligence, that can then be used for something else. They make useless calculations.

In the article, the expert proposes new approaches, such as modifying mining software to reduce the energy and water needed and incorporating renewable energy sources that do not require water, such as wind and solar. However, he questions whether it is really necessary to expend even this kind of energy in the crypto world.

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