Global Crypto Mining Has Gotten Dirtier Since China’s Ban on Crypto, New Study Says

Beijing’s ban on cryptocurrencies last year spurred an exodus of crypto miners to other countries, including places where renewable energy was less likely to be behind mining operations. Researchers now claim the  environmental footprint of crypto mining is getting dirtier, upturning a common belief that the industry was moving toward a brighter, greener future, reports the New York Times.

A new peer-reviewed study in the energy research journal Joule says that there was a decline in renewable energy powering the Bitcoin network from 2020 to 2021, plummeting from a 2020 average of 42% to just 25% last August. Renewable sources like wind, solar or hydropower are increasingly being eclipsed by dirtier fuels like coal and other fossil fuels as Bitcoin mining transitions to countries like Kazakhstan and the United States.

“It’s bad news for Bitcoin owners because their holdings just got more dirty,” paper co-author Alex de Vries told the New York Times

“There was a lot of optimism that China banning Bitcoin mining would make mining more green,” he said. “But the fact is, it was already a dirty business, and it just got worse.”

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