It's even making YOUR power bill higher.
Crypto Miner's Daughter
We knew mining cryptocurrency uses a cubic crap-ton of energy — but new investigations have revealed that the situation is actually worse than we thought.
As the New York Times reveals in a new deep-dive look into the environmental and social impacts crypto mining has on the regions where these energy-intensive rigs live, most of the folks who have to deal with crypto's consequences have little to do with the digital currency.
Part of the reason crypto mining has continued in spite of its environmental impact stems from the convoluted way it uses energy.
To mine Bitcoin and other "proof-of-work" cryptocurrencies, miners must use tons of computing power to try to earn money. The more miners on the blockchain, the more competitive the system, so big operations need tens of thousands of computers to keep up the pace, and with more computers being used, come more fossil fuels being burned to power these centers.
Per the NYT's analysis, crypto mining's nationwide energy toll is, in essence, about as much as a second New York City.
For those who live nearby, this not only means surging energy bills, but also little economic development because these mines employ computers, rather than people, to do their bidding.
Those computers, the report notes, need a wild amount of electricity to operate. In fact, the nationwide amount of pollution that comes from Bitcoin mining as a whole is the equivalent of 3.5 million cars.
What's more: this NYT report dropped soon after the nonprofit Environmental Working Group released its own paper summarizing this high energy toll.
"Once-dead coal-fired power plants roaring back to life and spewing hazardous emissions, overheating trout chopped up by utility water pipes, nonstop low-frequency noise," the EWG's report noted, listing off the many ways these facilities generate "air, climate, water, and noise pollution."
"Currently, the most efficient bitcoin mining computers release more than 105 metric tons of carbon dioxide per bitcoin mined, but average emissions per bitcoin are easily double that," the paper notes.
While the crypto industry keeps pushing back on these damning assessments, we find it hard to disagree with the EWG's stance that crypto is invariably contributing to the climate crisis — and it needs to be dealt with, fast.
More on crypto rigs: Space Force Major Says Countries Should Have Crypto-Mining Contests Instead of Going to War