How to mine cryptocurrencies sustainably.
Crypto mining is a lucrative business which is not only disenfranchising gamers, but more importantly it is putting a huge strain on our planet’s delicate eco system. Mining is nothing new to the world of cryptocurrencies, for those who are unclear; mining is the process of adding transaction records to the public ledger — the Bitcoin Blockchain. Of course this isn’t just exclusive to Bitcoin, any cryptocurrency with a blockchain can be mined.
What could a digital currency possibly be doing to the planet you might ask? Well, even though cryptocurrencies are in the cloud so to speak, they still require mass amounts of hardware to churn out the algorithms that keep the currency going. These machines were originally on computers much like your laptop or home computer — a CPU — they are fine for buying currencies and you can even mine on them if you so wish. However to increase profit you must increase your hashrate. More power was required so miners began searching for faster and more durable computers: enter the gamers.
Gamers have always wanted the best experience on screen, whether that be in quality, to rid themselves of lag issues or just to be able to berate their team mate in the crispest audio for fucking everything up. When crypto-miners, who let’s be honest — were probably avid gamers in the first place, started buying up graphics cards — GPU’s to start mining with, naturally much like the price of Bitcoin, the price of gaming GPUs went through the roof.
A price rise like this only happens when there are enough transactions at one time, and since China is responsible for nearly 70% of crypto-mining- we can largely say they are responsible for the problem. Let’s not make this another finger pointing who-done-it scenario, global Bitcoin mining accounted for 46TWh of electricity in 2018, to put it in perspective, the U.K that year accounted for nearly 307TWh. It is estimated that Bitcoin has a carbon footprint of around 22.4 mega tonnes per year — what the fuck is a megatonne of carbon — who knows but its the same consumption as a large European city or Las Vegas.
How are you going to ethically mine you ask?
There are a number of independent companies out there who are mining with the help of renewable energy. Do you self the rest of the world a flavour and check them out here. I spoke to Josh, CEO of Easy Crypto Hunters, they are a growing mining company based in Manchester in the U.K. They are the largest manufacturer of mining rigs in the U.K and last year became an accredited supplier to the British Hydropower association. After David Cameron’s Tory government slashed renewable energy incentives, profitability in solar, wind and hydro fell dramatically. However there is a hero in this dismal tale of cuts and losses: cryptocurrencies. Easy Crypto Hunter CEO, Josh, told me that 17 British Hydropower sites were now being used to power their own mining rigs and were seeing profits that are keeping them afloat and indeed rising above the clean clouds of our atmosphere.
Cryptocurrencies are built on progressive ideas breaking down ideas of the establishment, and liberating people from the shackles of corporations — no? Maybe too preachy, either way Cryptocurrencies are forward thinking systems and therefore should be able to lead the way in the climate change debate by setting an example for the rest of the world industries who are polluting the world. If you’re getting into mining do it with a clean company. If you’re already mining are you carbon neutral?