So miners have taken their business to other places, including countries that use much dirtier energy than China. The electricity sources powering the Bitcoin network were only 25.1% renewable in August 2021, about 17 percentage points lower than the 2020 average.
The study found that Bitcoin mining each year produces as much pollution as Greece did in 2019. A single Bitcoin transaction results in the same carbon footprint as a traveler traveling from New York to Amsterdam.
“After China banned bitcoin mining, everyone was expecting it to get greener, but it is somewhat surprising to see the opposite happen.” De Vries said. “A lot of the hydroelectric power that these miners previously got in China has now been replaced by natural gas from the United States.”
The hydroelectric power behind bitcoin mining in China has often been stymied by crypto advocates to refute criticism about the technology’s environmental impact.
Coinbase did not respond to CNN’s questions about whether it is sticking to a fact-check in light of China’s crackdown on cryptocurrency, but said in a statement that it believes the “industry is innovating at an encouraging pace to solve these challenges…community-led change is possible and crypto can be a part”. than combating climate change if we come together to solve these challenges.”
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