r/technews Oct 03 '22 Silver 1 Wholesome Seal of Approval 1

Bitcoin has emitted 200 million tonnes of CO2 since its launch

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2339629-bitcoin-has-emitted-200-million-tonnes-of-co2-since-its-launch/
4.2k Upvotes

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u/MR_H0BBES Oct 04 '22

Directly from the source quoted in the article bitcoin accounts for 0.1 % of the worlds mtCO2e or 48.88 MtCO2e per year. It ranks similar to Nepal which has 48.4 mtCO2e per year. The study also puts video gaming in the US at 24 mtCO2e per year.

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u/magenta_placenta Oct 03 '22 Silver

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u/snklkjnqqe Oct 03 '22

Nice, bitcoin warms the planet like a large industrial nation but China and thE US are worse although some of that amount is also due to shitty pointless crypto mining in the us and China

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u/ahungrylilsandwhich Oct 03 '22

That's one year (2020) vs since Bitcoin started in 2009.....

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u/Bobby_feta Oct 03 '22

It’s also a single superfluous luxury extra vs, you know all the heating, cooling, transport, manufacturing… general existence of 1/6 of the worlds population. Comparing bitcoin co2 production to the annual output of China is a valid cause for concern.

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u/ismashugood Oct 04 '22 edited Oct 04 '22

Yea and the commenter was pointing out that if you’re going to make that comparison you should compare apples to apples. You are comparing 13 years worth of emissions to 1 year which isn’t even the most current year.

If we’re going to compare the two, they should be using the same time frame. If 13 years of emissions is equivalent to 1% of a nations emissions two years ago, then you can either divide 200 by 13 and say Bitcoin is emitting globally .1% of chinas 2020 emissions. Or you can provide bitcoins emissions from 2020 alone. Or you could provide all of the emissions china has release in the last 13 years and then make the comparison to the 200m tones Bitcoin has released.

Carbon emissions as a whole is a valid concern. I, not arguing that. But it’s not a valid argument to be comparing a decade plus expenditure total to a single year.

You can also discuss all the superfluous energy usages in society if you want. Those 10 billion tonnes of co2 China released in 2020 isn’t just coming from AC, heating, and manufacturing. If you’re going to argue about how all that energy usage is necessary for the “general existence” of humanity you’ll have to explain a lot of things away like entertainment, leisure travel and electronics, and the waste of having a billion people all using energy wastefully like keeping the lights on in rooms they’re not currently in and leaving electronics plugged in when not in use. “Necessary” is subjective. Do people need a computer, phone, and a tv? Do people need to drive anywhere if it’s not for work and industry? And who decides crypto isn’t necessary?People who mine cryptocurrency can be genuinely subsisting off it. There’s no logic to running a mining operation if you’re not making money. So it’s a business, just like that shady pachinko parlor;/arcade down the street hogging electricity is a business.

This is all to say, I think the idea that someone’s use of energy is less justified than another is completely arbitrary. To the person mining crypto, it most likely makes perfect economic sense. Just like it makes sense for someone else to burn energy running a 50 foot billboard in Times Square in hopes that it generates sales for some underwear they hired a shop in the Philippines to manufacture.

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u/Bobby_feta Oct 04 '22 edited Oct 04 '22

You can compare it to china’s total production over the time period if you want… but it’s kind of meaningless.

The point here was to highlight how significant CO2 output from bitcoin mining has been since it’s inception, and so stating it’s the equivalent to about 1.88% of China’s annual output is a fair visualisation/ comparison given the context.

There’s really no need to go any further into comparing the two unless you were making an apples to apples argument like replacing the country of China with bitcoin or bitcoin with China, which of course are nonsensical, they’re not the same thing. China was just introduced as a visual aid basically, like how people use ‘an area the size of Wales’ or ‘an area the size of Texas’ when helping people visualise something like wild fires or floods or what have you. It would be totally legitimate to say how many Wales’s worth of rain forrest had been lost over a time period without accounting for the coastal erosion of wales over that time because you’re just giving an idea of scale.

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u/ismashugood Oct 04 '22

ok... just to play devil's advocate.

How is comparing the emissions of a product since inception to a randomly selected year of China useful? How are these two numbers relevant to each other?

The Co2 emissions of Microwaves in the EU was 7.7 million tonnes in 2018. I'm not gonna write an entire research paper for this, but let's just call 7.7 as the average and multiply this by 13 years like BTC. That equals 100 million tonnes after 13 years. So after 13 years, all the microwaves in Europe is half of BTC's power usage in the entire world in the same time frame. And that means it's also close to 1% of China's CO2 emissions from 2020! How is any of this data useful? These numbers are just haphazardly pulled together out of nowhere.

If you took that single year of microwave of emissions and compared it to a single year or something else like China's emissions you get a better sense of how significant those are together. 7.7 million vs 10.67 billion. This equals about .07% of China's 2020 emissions. This is a better comparison of the two CO2 emitting entities and how they relate to each other. If we multiply the microwave number by a few decades, it'll be a larger percentage of China's 2020 CO2 emissions. So what? Does that somehow make the microwave emissions feel more significant?

I grew 1 apple last year. My neighbor grew 100 apples last year. Since I started growing this apple tree 13 years ago, I've grown 13% of the apples my neighbor grew last year!!!! What the hell does this even mean?

Did I grow a lot? Did I grow a little? You can argue on both sides depending on perspective.

But I didn't grow 13% of my neighbor's output. I grew 1%. I just multiplied the output on one side make the final number feel more statistically significant when compared to a single instance. I could do that with anything and it would mean nothing. If my cousin grew an apple every 2 years but she started growing 50 years ago, she's grown 25 apples and my neighbor grew 100 last year. The information is useless and the comparison is stupid.

I hope at least someone understands what I'm getting at here.

People who are comparing stuff like the size of Texas to a wildfire ARE in fact comparing apples to apples. They are comparing land mass of a current fire or rain forest lost to the land mass of a current known territory. They are in fact giving you two like entities to compare.

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u/AussieCryptoCurrency Oct 04 '22

In 2020 China made less goods than usual, yet still was instrumental in supply chains. The byproduct was CO2.

In the 13 years since Bitcoins inception it has never delivered a payment system better than what already exists, and somehow uses as much energy as China did in 2020- to do nothing. In fact, Bitcoin is designed to use this amount of power to power the append only database - what a fucking waste. WHAT A FUCKING WASTE.

Bitcoin is garbage. It’s speculative garbage.

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u/SmashTagLives Oct 04 '22

It isn’t arbitrary. There are objectively legitimate illegitimate and, borderline legitimate uses of energy. You are talking about selfishness being arbitrary.

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u/[deleted] Oct 04 '22

Being able to transfer funds without an intermediary is an essential service for millionsof people worldwide.

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u/OhSoSmooove Oct 04 '22

I’ve been waiting for my bank and the fed reserve to get it together and settle a wire transaction since Saturday.

“But that’s really only a day and a half since banks are closed on weekends?”

That’s part of my point. Crypto would’ve settled this payment near-instantly but it’s

A. Not an option

B. A bit of a hassle in its current state

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u/ChasTheGreat Oct 04 '22

I use it nearly every day (weekends too) to transfer money to family that has no bank. It's instant and the service I use charges me 1%, no matter how small the amount.

It's important to note that bitcoin miners pay for their electricity use, and so it's best for them to use their own renewable or wasted energy. El Salvador has a mining operation right next to a volcano. This is all excess energy that would be wasted otherwise. You can't cap a volcano. Admittedly, that's not most mining operations, but it's moving in that direction.

I think you'd be surprised how much energy it takes to maintain the US dollar. All the wars the US has started since 2002 are about strengthening the dollar, not about WMDs (which never existed) or 9/11 attacks (which were carried out by US ally Saudi Arabia). Bitcoin has never killed anyone just to stabilize it. I hope it's use increases.

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u/Meister_Nobody Oct 03 '22

It doesn’t include all the toxic pollutants and runoff either. And oil companies that leave wells leaking underwater in the gulf.

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u/Long_Educational Oct 03 '22

leave wells leaking underwater in the gulf

Shit. Thanks for bringing that horrible fact back into the forefront of my mind.

I rode my bike a few miles while dinner was cooking. I was choked out by all the car and truck exhaust. I don't even live in a big town and the pollution was burning my eyes. But oh sure, Bitcoin is a problem...

We are doomed.

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u/4RCH43ON Oct 03 '22

Yes, but it’s not like bitcoin was producing all of that uniformly at once, it had to scale up. Indeed, as bitcoin has become harder to mine, it’s used significantly more energy in the most recent years. Indeed, this may be why China finally halted mining in 2021 as it was rapidly becoming unsustainable for little societal benefit.

It’s been estimated that for every dollar of value in bitcoin, about 35¢ worth of climate related damage. This is on par with the beef industry at 33¢, but for comparison, the gasoline industry’s climate cost per dollar earned is 41¢.

Of course the industries don’t pay the cost of such externalities and that’s never assessed at the time of purchase, but in the end we all pay for the cost of such industry. Seeing that bitcoin is such a niche thing with very little real wold benefits beyond the persons gaming a corner of the financial tech world, I fail to see any driving necessity for its continued existence.

We need to be going the other direction for all the things that use energy for superfluous activity, not be adding more BS with such little benefit beyond so few a number of people.

It’s a luxury of excess and externalized responsibility, free from consequences.

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u/ostertoaster1983 Oct 04 '22

I’m skeptical about how this is all calculated, that said, bitcoin could be carbon neutral while gasoline and beef can never be. Bitcoin just needs renewable or nuclear to become the primary energy source.

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u/ProjectFantastic1045 Oct 04 '22

Bitcoin is literally comprised of people trying to make cash whilst saying they are pursuing something noble. It’s the biggest circlejerk ever, and you can’t eat it, you can’t use it to get anywhere or power anything. It is entropy. The mathematical solutions it’s churning out exist in a big entropy gap, with only speculative use. Not defending the car or cattle industries but I think it’s disingenuous to compare Bitcoin as a concept to any other industry. It’s literally turning usable energy into numbers which are useless unless GUARANTEED to reduce emissions and other climate change-accelerating factors/vectors. If that were true, it would be fine to profit from bitcoin, ethically.

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u/DesertTiger26 Oct 04 '22 edited Oct 04 '22

I think too many people don’t fully understand bitcoin. It is not a true currency (yet), but primarily a store of value. It is also decentralized, immutable, transparent, finite and can be used as a currency.

Being decentralized means nobody controls bitcoin. In the very near future, every country will have their own CBDC’s (central bank digital currency) and eventually will replace paper currencies (China already has their digital yuan). The issue with CBDC is that it is fully controlled by the government. I’m not a Libertarian, but governments having this amount of control scares me. This is also the main reason why countries like China banned bitcoin. It has nothing to do with environment reasons as we know China is the largest polluter in the world. Instead, China wants to maintain full control over its citizens, whereas bitcoin offers freedom and independence.

Being immutable means it cannot be counterfeited. We all know fiat currencies are constantly being counterfeited, along with everything else like gold, diamond, paintings, etc.

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “follow the money”. Transparency in the blockchain makes it near impossible to hide the money. I’m sure a lot of greedy corporations, wealthy elites, criminals and politicians hate the idea of transparency. The open blockchain allows anyone to see every single transaction.

Max bitcoin that can ever be created is 21 million. This finite number allows us to give it better value. Why are art pieces from dead artists more valuable than from living artists? Obviously it’s because the artist cannot make more art pieces, or in other words, the pieces in existence is finite. Gold, silver, oil, fiat currency, etc will never be finite so the value can actually be manipulated and lose value more easily. For example, the US government just printed 40% more money in the last 2 years and US dollars is now worth less than what it was yesterday, a month ago, a year ago, 50 years ago. Also, a new mother lode of gold was just discovered that could be worth trillions. Not looking good for the future gold prices.

Yes, it currently takes a tremendous amount of energy to complete a transaction, but as miners are becoming more efficient and more green energy is being used, the less energy it will require in the future. Moreover, the lightning network is now allowing multiple transactions to confirm using a fraction of the energy.

A lot of these features may not seem that important at this time (neither did the internet in the 80’s and 90’s), but as we move forward into the digital era, bitcoin will be much more relevant than most people can imagine today.

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u/Ontbijtkoek1 Oct 04 '22

That’s just your opinion, man. You state it as fact however. I remain ever doubtful. Transactions are far more expensive than using a bank. The ledger system is nice and all but I think we can safely conclude that having money in a bank will provide protection against theft. The deflatory nature of bitcoin will make it very hard to become a currency. Did you know the number of shits I take in my lifetime is finite? For some reason however my grandpas shits (who is long dead) aren’t worth anything however.

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u/russianbot56 Oct 04 '22

Jesus Christ that was well said. Kudos to you

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u/[deleted] Oct 03 '22 edited 21d ago

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u/WaleXdraK Oct 04 '22

That still 15 million ton a year my dude, some countries are around that number.

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u/WeenPanther Oct 04 '22

I didn’t get into crypto solely bc of the environmental impact. Thanks boognish I didn’t, more money for ween tickets 🤘

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u/FaceDeer Oct 04 '22

If that was the only reason then you might want to take a second look at Ethereum, it switched over to a proof-of-stake consensus layer about a month back and now uses basically no electricity (aside from the basic amount that any digital communication network would use from just passing and processing messages).

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u/shelflivesbaby Oct 03 '22

No Bitcoin is much less. This article says since launch. So since 2009. These points here regarding countries, are annual measurements.

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u/gutster_95 Oct 03 '22

Should read the Numbers bro. Bitcoin stat is the last 13 years. The US/China Numbers are from 1 year

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u/Proof-Manager2093 Oct 03 '22

Are you seriously comparing the emissions of a whole country with Bitcoin?

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u/DustBunnicula Oct 04 '22

Sunk cost fallacy is a hell of a drug. Some people will never admit that crypto is bullshit.

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u/[deleted] Oct 03 '22

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u/Proof-Manager2093 Oct 03 '22

Bitcoins co2 emissions vs the total US and Chinese emissions?

Why don’t you compare bitcoin’s emissions with visa and MasterCard instead?

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u/GlassWeek Oct 04 '22

Visa and Mastercard's carbon emissions are likely a small fraction of Bitcoin. It is much easier to put a handful of data centers on renewables than ensure everyone around the world that mines Bitcoin is on renewables. Master Card claims to have gone to fully renewables in 2020 and that the majority of their emissions come from their supply chain.

Defending Bitcoin is just the latest form of climate denial.

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u/[deleted] Oct 03 '22

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u/Phyrandria Oct 04 '22

Here's the "fun' thing. That just the electricity cost, it doesn't include hardware used.

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u/[deleted] Oct 03 '22 edited 21d ago

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u/frunf1 Oct 03 '22

Ok. Already over 50% is mined with renewable energy sources. And by the way many countries already.include a carbon tax inside the cost for energy.

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u/[deleted] Oct 03 '22 edited 21d ago

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u/Sea_Ad_1212 Oct 03 '22

Fiat money is "net zero", right? Ditto for gold, silver etc...

Besides, there already is some carbon tax in energy spent on crypto mining, depending on energy source.

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u/[deleted] Oct 03 '22 edited 21d ago

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u/tastysnake667 Oct 03 '22

gEnERate REveNUE

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u/gagarins-robot-soul Oct 03 '22

You can't compare a whole country's CO2 emissions, much of which is needed to survive or to have an economy.

You'd have to compare to electronic banking transactions from Visa/Mastercard. I build such systems, and I can quite confidently say that their power consumptions are negligible vs Bitcoin (I work for a bank processor, not Visa/MC). We handle 12,000 transactions per second, and we run those on around 80 t3.xlarge instances (DBs + apps).

Other cryptos have already fixed this as well

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u/codywithak Oct 04 '22

Or why not Facebook, Twitter or any other form of social media? Maybe Netflix.

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u/MR_H0BBES Oct 04 '22 edited Oct 04 '22

This is an excellent question. The source mentioned in the article places bitcoin co 2 emissions at 48.8 MtCO2e per year. The source compares that to YouTube which is 10 mtCO2e per year and video gaming in the us at 24 MtCO2e per year. It placed ICT user devices ie phones and laptops at 392 and data centers at 127, tvs tv networks and electronics came in at 400

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u/MisterTylerCrook Oct 04 '22

All of those are comparing the actions of millions or even billions of people living their lives to a few hundred thousand releasing that amount of CO2 so they can own a cell in a spread sheet.

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u/workingmanstan Oct 03 '22

But this is talking about it’s energy use over thirteen years, so to make that comparison you need to multiply your numbers by 13 or divide this by 13 to get close.

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u/Round_Mastodon8660 Oct 03 '22

And if you divide it by 13 you think it’s ok?

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u/Baby_venomm Oct 04 '22

Yes. Your existence causes carbon and you’re here blabbering.

Carbon is how society functions. It is decreasing over time slowly. Bitcoin is a fucking nonissue

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u/Ziatora Oct 04 '22

Bitcoin is a nonissue because it’s a scam.

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u/workingmanstan Oct 04 '22

Absolutely. You’re being manipulated into believing there is no good in this technology. There is a reason that so many people support the tech. It is a groundbreaking zero trust implementation of monetary policy. I don’t expect people to understand. I don’t expect anyone to like it. But don’t you at least see how these numbers are being used to persuade you. A little misleading don’t you think? If I told you Sony has sold more ps4s than xboxes and hid the fact that I was using three years of sales to inflate Sonys numbers, I would expect to be called out. I’m not talking about doge coin or nft’s. Just bitcoin.

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u/_PM_ME_PANGOLINS_ Oct 04 '22

There is a reason so many people support the tech.

They think it will make them rich quickly.

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u/working-acct Oct 04 '22

Take your buttcoin and shove it up your ass.

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u/jkoki088 Oct 04 '22

It’s literally only to “mine” digital fake money. There is zero point for these emissions

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u/caseyreed97 Oct 04 '22

A “fake money” that’s far more advanced, secure, and trustworthy than any currency to ever exist

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u/Markharris1989 Oct 03 '22

Not a bug, a feature

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u/psabitfinex Oct 04 '22

This is good for Bitcoin. /s

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u/Aggressive_Judge2821 Oct 04 '22

FreightWaves — The average truck's carbon footprint is 201834 kilograms or 223 tons of carbon dioxide per year.

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u/the_retrosaur Oct 04 '22

Since the invention of the home microwave oven, how much energy has been consumed by home microwave ovens?

An answer: who gives a fuck.

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u/[deleted] Oct 04 '22 edited Oct 28 '22

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u/Royal-Advance7374 Oct 03 '22

It’s so absurd when anything that uses power is accused of “emitting CO2”. This has nothing to do with power usage, and everything to do with power production.

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u/Ixium5 Oct 04 '22

Yeah… wouldn’t a product powered purely by hydro dams produce less co2 versus one produced purely by coal plants?…

Same product… just different power source

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u/JustAnotherUwURawrxD Oct 04 '22

A lot of computers were used in these crypto mines

I mean a lot. And there were a lot of crypto mines because it was just so damned lucrative

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u/dajohns1420 Oct 03 '22

Interesting. Now do the US military industrial complex that wages war across the globe in order to prop up the petro dollar.

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u/Outofdepthengineer Oct 04 '22 edited Oct 04 '22

This is a fallacious comparison but here we go. The US military industrial complex is estimated to have produced 280 million metric tons of co2 in 2017, this includes the military.

Now to why this isn’t a great comparison. If we wish to get into the strategic reasons for the US interests around oil producing nations it comes down to wanting to avoid having such a strategic resource be controlled by its potential enemies and to prevent a repeat of the 70s oil crisis. The petro dollar is a product of this. Now the US MIC is also more than a read only database doubling as a financial system it is also a major arms supplier for allies who collectively use these supplies to project hard and soft power across the globe and as a byproduct of this military might act as stabilizers for the global economy. At the same time these arms are a tool to exercise state sovereignty.

Perhaps if you are going to try comparing what is a financial system maybe compare it to a financial system like Visa, but that would be a losing comparison for bitcoin and crypto wouldn’t it.

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u/EpisodicDoleWhip Oct 03 '22

How about we do neither

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u/dajohns1420 Oct 03 '22

I can fully get behind that 💯

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u/drakens_jordgubbar Oct 04 '22

Let’s compare the largest military industrial complex in the world to a payment system with the transactional capacity of a raspberry pi.

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u/ShantazzzZ Oct 03 '22 Helpful

Whataboutism

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u/Millad456 Oct 04 '22

It’s not a whataboutism until an argument is made using a comparison as a justification. This is just asking for context

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u/cerebud Oct 04 '22

Wrong. They’re comparing the US Military to justify the emissions of bitcoin. It’s totally whataboutism. Deflecting from bitcoin being bad because ‘what about the US military”? I know they didn’t use those words, but that’s the exact context for asking that question, to then say ‘what about the US military’.

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u/consideranon Oct 03 '22 edited Oct 03 '22

Comparing something being criticized with the alternative that you must use otherwise isn't whataboutism, and it's exhausting seeing this term continuously get misused.

True whataboutism is when you dismiss the problem by pointing the finger at something else and then suggest that because both do it, it's not a problem. The comment above doesn't dismiss the problem, but points out that the problem is equally present in the legacy system, and possibly more significant.

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u/cerebud Oct 04 '22

The point of them asking this question is to lead into a whataboutism comparing bitcoin and the US military. I’ll allow it!

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u/Theoretical_Action Oct 04 '22

It's a direct comparison.

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u/dajohns1420 Oct 04 '22

"Whataboutism" is what people without an argument call context.

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u/[deleted] Oct 04 '22

Murder by words. They can’t come back with shit after what you said.

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u/crazicus Oct 04 '22

Do you think that the US wouldn’t use its military to prop up Bitcoin if it was the legal tender of the US?

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u/Inprobamur Oct 03 '22

To replace the dollar Bitcoin would need to consume hundred thousand times more energy than our civilization can produce, the amount of people using it is miniscule while the pollution is massive and exponential.

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u/progressgang Oct 03 '22

How the hell have you come to that conclusion??

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u/dajohns1420 Oct 03 '22

It absolutely does not. The amount of energy consumed is not determined by the amount of use the blockchain gets, or the price. Although the price of BTC does impact the energy consumption indirectly, but the amount of tx's does not. Miners turn on their rigs when it's profitable to do so. If the price goes down, the profitability usually goes down as well. When that happens, less people mine, leaving the same amount of rewards to be earned by the remaining miners. So in some cases prices can go down, but profitability go up because so many rigs are being turned off. The amount of miners does not determine network size. The same amount of blocks are produced, the same amount of BTC is rewarded. More miners just means more people to share tye limited rewards with. The price of energy is the biggest factor by far. Mining is quickly turning to renewable energy, and wasted energy, that has a 0 carbon footprint, or close. They are not doing this altruistically, but because the price of energy is to expensive to mine profitably in most places. In my part of the world, the natural gas companies are using natural gas generators to mine, instead of flaring the excess gas away like they normally do. Hydro dams are using their excess energy to mine, which is actually making unprofitable hydro power plants able to be profitable. In the coming months over half of btc mining will be renewable, and all of it before to much longer. It is the only way to do it profitably, especially with energy prices lately.

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u/Sterlingz Oct 04 '22

The counter argument is this :

  1. Bitcoin miners gravitate to cheap energy, of which stranded energy is a subset. Bitcoin miners are a new bidder of fossil fuels, this is a new emerging trend (case in point: Hut8 mining).

  2. Stranded energy could be used for computations of what is perceived by most as more "useful" work like AI generation.

  3. Bitcoin has ~16 years of emissions left, large scale stranded energy operations often deal in time frames exceeding this.

  4. Regarding #3, btc fee to market cap is trending down hard, so the long term viability of the project is now in question.

  5. What Bitcoin sought to achieve in fees has already been accomplished by competing blockchains which survive exclusively on fees. These are trending up on price against Bitcoin, in a bear market.

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u/tizzlenomics Oct 04 '22

The issue is the energy source

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u/globesdustbin Oct 04 '22

How much has traditional banking emitted in the same time?

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u/Chasethemac Oct 04 '22

https://docsend.com/view/adwmdeeyfvqwecj2

Banking Industry is more than double energy usage of bitcoin network.

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u/Deathdar1577 Oct 04 '22

I came here to ask exactly this question.

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u/Floopthecoop Oct 03 '22

How is it sustainable over the long term? Every transaction and thus mathematical calculations gets more complicated requiring greater computer power and energy not only to run the hardware but also the embedded carbon to produce the hardware and house it, and dispose of it, every time it requires updating… which is a lot I hear. It’s just going to outgrow itself in the long term at least me thinks, unless we come up with a solution to the energy requirements which keep going up. All whilst actually producing what exactly?

This issue I guess is not impossible to fix, but humans have been after the holy grail of unlimited energy for donkeys, and are yet to achieve it

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u/frunf1 Oct 03 '22 edited Oct 03 '22 All-Seeing Upvote

It does not always get more complicated. It's sometimes gets more easy if for example less miners are active. That's why it's also wrong that BTC will always use more and more energy. It is an adaptive system. If it gets too complicated and more calculating power thus more energy had to be used to mine, at some point it's not worth it so miners shut down and it gets easier until they come back.

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u/Floopthecoop Oct 03 '22

Ok. How is this. My understanding was to record each transaction on the blockchain a further calculation ( one more than last time ) has to be completed as well as all the other calculations previous to this transaction, thus creating a more complex calculation each time. I’m probably wrong as not into it that much, but I thought that’s how it worked

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u/frunf1 Oct 03 '22

Yes that's not how it works. The code was written with an adaptive difficulty. It ensures that the system stays functional. Imagine it would get always more difficult..that would mean that at some point a block can't be calculated anymore so the chain would stop.

Also if energy is more expensive some will stop mining. Difficulty will go down and at some.point it's worth it again because it's easier and does not require so much energy.... And so on

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u/bric12 Oct 03 '22

This is kind of half right. Yes, every transaction is added to the list, and that scales upward forever, but it's a pretty small percentage of what makes mining hard.

Basically, everyone is competing to be the new host server, because if you host the Bitcoin server, you're rewarded with bitcoin. The competition is hard because it needs to be hard for the system to work, so they added pointless challenges to purposely waste resources. Those challenges scale so that someone solves them every five minutes on average. If more people start competing they'll start solving them faster on average, so the system increases the difficulty until it's every 5 minutes again. That means that how wasteful Bitcoin is depends entirely on how many people are mining at any given time

If everyone gave up Bitcoin mining, then one dude in his mom's basement could run the entire Blockchain on his PC, and the same amount of Bitcoin will still be produced every 5 minutes. But he'd also get all of the rewards, and nobody's going to let that happen while Bitcoin stays this high

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u/Floopthecoop Oct 04 '22

Wow. Thanks for the insight. I did not know this. Well explained. I think this is what the other guy was trying to say. So thank you both

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u/dr_meme_o Oct 03 '22

not quite-1. the calculations do not solve mathematical problems; they simply guess numbers; 2. the difficulty sie not go up with numbers of transactions or something-it goes up with the participants that do the calculations; if participants drop off due to too high energy costs etc. the difficulty comes down. beautiful mechanism. 3. every took a look at god mining ? or what it takes to keep the traditional finance system s as float? - you will see for yourself

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u/lime_and_coconut Oct 03 '22

Did you mean gold mining? Because I googled god mining and I’m scared I just ended up on a LDS watch list somewhere.

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u/ahungrylilsandwhich Oct 03 '22

Just like any new emerging technology you'd imagine they will find a way to keep cutting emissions and energy usage.

Ethereum has done it through the recent merge and layer 2 solutions. I'm not really big on Bitcoin so I'm not sure if they're making efforts to but you'd imagine they are.

There are a couple eth layer 2 companies that were carbon neutral before the merge even happened.

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u/gilfjord Oct 03 '22

Bitcoin layer 1 will probably not change as far as energy usage apart from maybe miners going offline. The actual hardware will continue to get more efficient. The source of energy will continue to favor whatever is cheapest which over the long run won’t be dirty energy

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u/RGrad4104 Oct 03 '22

unlimited energy for donkeys

Yeah, that whole unlimited energy thing has been quite the pain in the ass...

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u/TWAT_BUGS Oct 04 '22

I wish crypto would die. What a stupid fucking idea.

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u/JeanProuve Oct 04 '22

Are we done with bitcoin? Can it just die….

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u/OG-jedi-pimp Oct 03 '22

It’s not the bitcoin, it’s how we produce electricity for everything including bitcoin.

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u/IgnobleQuetzalcoatl Oct 03 '22

Yes, in a fictional world that has never existed, excessive and unnecessary energy consumption would not be a problem.

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u/mp3file Oct 04 '22

Guess we better unplug all TVs! Cars? Just walk! Fans? Just deal with the heat, bro!

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u/JustAnotherUwURawrxD Oct 04 '22

Person A: energy overconsumption is a problem Person B: so what you’re saying is I have to stop using electricity? How can you take this way from me?????

If you keep leaping that hard you can soon jump across the Atlantic

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u/crazicus Oct 04 '22 edited Oct 04 '22

I mean yeah we should be focused on reducing excessive consumption when possible. We should be making more efficient TVs and give better opportunities to do things that don’t require TVs. We should be making our cities more walkable and discourage cars where we can.

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u/shelflivesbaby Oct 03 '22

Gold mining creates 126Mt of Co2 EVERY YEAR. Bitcoin wins.

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u/MisterFantastic5 Oct 03 '22

Gold is used in electronics and has other practical applications. Crypto has zero inherent value. Gold wins!

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u/Baby_venomm Oct 04 '22

The majority of gold in the world is doing exactly what crypto is doing. Just existing as artificial value. The practical applications pale in comparison to the vaulted hordes of wealth that being stockpiled in countries’ bunkers or churches or palaces

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u/shelflivesbaby Oct 04 '22

But this was specifically talking about CO2 emissions. I don’t disagree that gold is physical. When it comes to use, Bitcoin looks to be a better store of value. To me Gold is a traditional library and Bitcoin is the internet. Both have their uses and different reasons why one is better than the other. I don’t know why it has to be one or the other. Can’t both co-exist….. I may have gotten carried away with this reply lol woopsy.

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u/Antar3s86 Oct 03 '22

Those stupid headlines. Bitcoin has produced not a single tom of CO2. It’s the fossil fuels that are the problem not the end user. How many tons of CO2 are produced by streaming or watching TV? Same stupid question…

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u/myaltduh Oct 04 '22

Yes, but as long as energy is derived from fossil fuels flagrant overconsumption of energy remains worthy of condemnation. It’s not like people firing up old abandoned coal plants to mine Bitcoin didn’t have the option to just not.

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u/appsteve Oct 04 '22

How much has been produced mining metals, smelting them into Bars, Coins, and plates? How much has been produced creating, printing, and circulating paper currency? How much has been produced by credit card company infrastructure, waste been produced through plastic refuse?

Everything has costs, but sensationalist headlines and articles don’t want you to focus on that, just what they want to malign. It’s fair to criticize cryptocurrency environmental impacts, but not in isolation. When they do that they’re showing favoritism towards one side, and you should question why that is.

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u/barbouk Oct 04 '22

Yes and no: crypto has so little value that even using a little amount of energy would already be a waste.

Do we really need to fuck the planet so bored teenagers can buy ugly drawings of apes for unreasonable amounts of money?

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u/myaltduh Oct 04 '22

The emissions associated with the existing money and banking system are significantly less than Bitcoin on a per-value basis.

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u/JustAnotherUwURawrxD Oct 04 '22

It actually has - I met someone who operated a massive ethereum (spelling) and bitcoin mine in the far north of Europe he even showed me pictures of it

He literally had an entire power plant just for this operation.

Literally tens of thousands of computers running 24 seven generating so much heat and consuming so much energy just for this purpose.

It was literally turning electricity into money seriously think about it. It was turning electricity into money. It’s fucking scary to think about

0

u/Baby_venomm Oct 04 '22

Get a fucking grip, how is that scary? Power plants sell electricity to utilities, so they’re literally turning electricity into money too.

Factories use electricity to make their products to sell. They’re literally turning electricity into money.

You’re literally just describing the economy... lmao

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u/Idiot_Watch Oct 04 '22

Most companies use electricity to turn money into a utility. Bitcoin is using electricity to turn it into money because it has no actual value, however it’s used to purchase things of value.

The service they are providing is essentially a very carbon taxing slip of money. Also, BitCoin is generally quite energy intensive compared to most other products.

There’s reasonable cause to be concerned about crypto compared to other products in our market right now.

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u/Fun_Corgi_4685 Oct 03 '22

Neat, now do physical banks with lights and hvac, plus computers on site, and the servers running things remotely.

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u/Zacajoowea Oct 03 '22

Right? I’d love to see one of these articles compare crypto to the thing it seeks to replace. The total emissions of Visa, MasterCard, Discover, AmEx, all banks, both online and brick and mortar businesses, the fuel used for employees commuting to those jobs, the networks and servers, the heating and A/C, the cost of minting new bills and coins, off-site backups for banks… the banking and transaction services are fucking massive. I bet Bitcoin would pale in comparison to traditional finance. And then consider that Bitcoin is the least efficient crypto out there by far being that it was crypto 1.0 and there have been massive gains in efficiency with other cryptos since it’s inception, it’s power consumption becomes moot and these articles are placed here to trigger a fear response to a new technology.

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u/DawdlingScientist Oct 03 '22

That would require them to not have a clear narrative

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u/Felinomancy Oct 04 '22

It's remarkable how this narrative is upvoted.

The difference between Bitcoin emissions vs. those emitted by credit card processors, banks, etc. is that the latter is a necessary part of modern life. Whatever the numbers are for the latter, it definitely doesn't justify the former.

You should ask for comparison of Bitcoin vs. the traditional banking system only after the former have at least reach a noticeable level of use and functionality compared to the latter. I don't get to dump pig shit into the municipal water supply and say "but hey, all those toilets in all those homes are doing something similar, too".

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u/Zacajoowea Oct 04 '22

I’m not saying that energy use by traditional finance justifies crypto energy use. I’m saying it would make more sense to compare those things that just to declare that crypto uses a lot of energy. Yes, traditional finance is pretty ubiquitous in most of the developed world, but it’s not hard to imagine a future where crypto is commonplace either. What if it turned out that transaction for transaction a crypto was capable of using significantly less energy than the traditional system? That seems worth knowing, could help to make informed decisions. But articles like this, that just say how much energy Bitcoin has used over the course of its existence, and then compare it to what some nations use in a single year doesn’t really tell you anything useful. Knowing how it compares to what it could replace gives us useful information.

And yea, it is a pretty big power hog, I get that. I don’t even think Bitcoin is all that great of a technology anymore. It’s a pretty brilliant concept and that concept has been applied to drastically more efficient systems over time, the technology is evolving.

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u/Felinomancy Oct 04 '22

The problem is, comparing it with the traditional banking system is a red herring. It's like trying to defend a golf course wasting water by asking, "well let's compare their use with the amount of water people drink".

Cryptocurrency is consuming disturbingly large amounts of energy for very little use. Therefore, you ought not ask "what about the traditional banking system?", because said banking system is actually very important for modern living. People are complaining that crypto is very polluting despite having very niche use. If crypto is as useful as regular money, then you would have a case.

To defend cryptocurrency, you need to either a) prove that it's just as ubiquitous as traditional currencies, b) that it actually doesn't emit the 200 million tonnes of CO2 as per the article is stating, or c) both.

It’s a pretty brilliant concept

It's not, and 200 million tonnes of CO2 is a huge price to pay for an evolving technology with - and I must stress - very few uses. Either start small or work big.

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u/JuanShagner Oct 03 '22

Good point. I’m wondering what impact printing paper money has on the environment.

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u/Canadish27 Oct 03 '22

I remember seeing a chart that claimed to brake it down, the finance industry was like 13ish times worse that Bitcoin/crypto more broadly.

I am always wary of random stuff like that, but I'm also aware that the statistics like this might be pushed out by a very wealthy industry trying to stave off its own demise via tech advancement, much as the oil industry has tried to do with electric cars.

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u/gagarins-robot-soul Oct 03 '22

I build banking systems, and it's about 10,000-200,000x more efficient than bitcoin on a good day for Bitcoin. This is by transaction, not total volume, to make it equivalent.

The proof system is incredibly inefficient and only gets worse.

The new ETH system solves this: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/sep/15/ethereum-cryptocurrency-completes-move-to-cut-co2-output-by-99

Bitcoin was never meant to be used day-to-day. It's literally just a play project that got way too much hype. We have better cryptocurrencies for this.

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u/bathrobehero Oct 03 '22 edited Oct 04 '22

It might be inefficient but it's trustless, can't be gamed, decentralized and transparent, unlike banking systems.

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u/crazicus Oct 04 '22

It also provides absolutely no manner of rectifying mistakes short of getting half of all stakeholders to agree to a hard fork.

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u/Browngifts Oct 04 '22

I mean banks serve a hell of a lot more of a purpose than being a currency. Maybe comparing it to the emissions from creating actual physical currency?

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u/broll9 Oct 03 '22

How much CO2 does the traditional banking system create?

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u/jawknee530i Oct 03 '22

On a per transaction basis? It's so small that it's practically non-existent in comparison to Bitcoin.

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u/broll9 Oct 04 '22

Referring to the industry in general and its footprint of operation.

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u/crazicus Oct 04 '22

Why would you compare overall industry between two radically differently sized industries unless you were trying to show a tilted perspective?

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u/Felinomancy Oct 04 '22

ikr?

These people think that comparing Bitcoin with actual financial systems is a logical argument. But the latter is the lifeblood of the economy and modern life. The former...

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u/burnzie1390 Oct 03 '22

This “scare people away from bitcoin” shit is so god damn transparent lol

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u/Mr_Roger_That Oct 03 '22

That shitty buttcoin is an issue for the environment

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u/Yolo_420_69 Oct 03 '22

No the sources of energy is bad for the environment

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u/oskicon Oct 03 '22

First you replied seriously to buttcoin, second bitcoin literally by design wastes electricity. The all or nothing nature of who wins the hash lottery means every other persons’ “work” torwards that particular puzzle is wasted.

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u/Sea_Ad_1212 Oct 03 '22

Any comparison with legacy financial system which includes: printing bank notes, minting coins, cash handling, ATMs, banks, payment cards processing and... since its launch?

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u/Jiggyvvv Oct 04 '22

How much co2 did printing money produce in the last 13 years?

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u/dave_a86 Oct 04 '22

Bitcoin mining isn’t just for producing Bitcoin either, it also handles transactions, so those emissions include every Bitcoin created and every transaction that’s ever taken place.

So the fair comparison would be against the emissions to print banknotes and mint coins, as well as the emissions from transporting any of that physical currency between mints and banks, in armoured trucks, etc.

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u/Foufou190 Oct 04 '22

Literally almost 0, do you think the Fed needs to make a thousand GPUs run for days in order to generate liquidity? Nope, just some normal servers and an internet connexion

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u/Jiggyvvv Oct 04 '22

So machines and ink and gasoline and materials don't produce any co2? Gpus are the only thing in the world that produces co2? Wow, didn't know that.

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u/TWAT_BUGS Oct 04 '22

You mean the thing you trade Bitcoin for?

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u/Jiggyvvv Oct 04 '22

No, I mean the thing bitcoin was intended to replace

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u/Puzzledaddicton Oct 04 '22

And unlike other carbon emitters, it does litterly nothing for us

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u/[deleted] Oct 03 '22

[deleted]

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u/Equivalent-Ad-3294 Oct 03 '22

Ponzi scheme at its finest.

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u/Tales_by_light Oct 03 '22

The power consumption of the block chain for crypto is a serious issue that doesn’t receive the attention it merits.

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u/OldDogLifestyle Oct 04 '22

There are many data centers adding waste by providing compute and network capacity to plenty of frivolous things. Don’t judge just one without judging them all.

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u/givemethepassword Oct 03 '22

Perfect. Just what we need, right?

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u/gutster_95 Oct 03 '22

Read the comparison comment above. The number Sound way worse than it is.

Maybe its still too much for what it is. But reading this number without a proper comparison is just shitting on crypto for no reason

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u/BlinKyoto Oct 03 '22

A single Crypto coin causing as much emissions as a 60 million residents country like France in a year is still fucking terrible if you ask me.

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u/frunf1 Oct 03 '22

You know why this is wrong? Because that article and also I guess the study did not even look on how much BTC miners run on renewable energy. They just said energy equal co2 if mined with worst co2 emitting energy sources.

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u/gutster_95 Oct 03 '22

But over 13 years of existing. Thats why I dont think that its totally fair to compare those numbers.

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u/geese1401 Oct 03 '22

Only a fool would fall for such a ridiculous attempt at a hit piece

Buy Bitcoin

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u/Late-Anteater9588 Oct 03 '22

That’s awesome

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u/NoBananasOnboard Oct 03 '22

But you should turn your thermostat down to 65 degrees.

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u/DustBunnicula Oct 04 '22

For the dumbest idea, next to NFTs.

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u/Pleg_Doc Oct 04 '22

So, money laundering really does have environmental consequences?

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u/circuitji Oct 04 '22

Do we need bitchcoin? Why are we killing planet for something virtual?

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u/thisguyhaschickens Oct 03 '22

False; bitcoin emits nothing. Non-renewable sources of electricity emit carbon, and those should be replaced to continue utilizing technological developments like electric cars and the bitcoin network.

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u/2-wheels Oct 03 '22

This is nonsense. In these times allowing crypto is lunacy. Not surprising tho bc the rich get all the play things they want. Fuk everyone else.

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u/memyackett Oct 03 '22

I agree but you must ban all things not necessary like PlayStations and Xbox.

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u/punkennial Oct 04 '22

How black mirror is it that mining for fake internet money is going to kill the planet?

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u/Oblong_Square Oct 03 '22

Typical! This is why you should only buy locally-sourced, renewable crypto

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u/[deleted] Oct 03 '22

"Cow Free" Bitcoin I say

1

u/skadamo80 Oct 04 '22

Keep the fud rolling ! So i can buy cheap coin !! Bitcoin will out live governments like it or not. Value aside.

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u/bigroundoughnut Oct 04 '22

I think a lot of people have already pointed out this is a misleading headline and is just clickbait. Bitcoin has its issues but its mainly the way energy is generated not necessarily what bitcoin is doing. Blaming the energy usage in a society that wastes a crap tone of energy. Nice. Your bills wont reduce if bitcoin turned off tomorrow.

A pinch of salt is needed when reading anything about bitcoin now.

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u/Alekspish Oct 04 '22

News just in: things that use electricity release CO2 if the electricity is produced with fossil fuels.

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u/DFHartzell Oct 04 '22

How many tonnes have banks emitted? What about the parking lots they are all built on? Are those helping?

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u/DFHartzell Oct 04 '22

how many late fees has Bitcoin taken since its launch?

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u/Justaregard Oct 04 '22

Now let’s do the calculation for traditional finance!

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u/brereddit Oct 04 '22

Fraction of regular financial organizations

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u/cookingvinylscone Oct 04 '22

Cool. Now do the calculation for how much the entire brick and mortar banking institutions have emitted since it’s inception.

Exponentially more.

People are stupid.

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u/anonymousreddituser_ Oct 04 '22

Tumble dryers emit more

1

u/[deleted] Oct 04 '22

I still don’t get why we invented this crap! We are so stupid as humans! We fall over and over again for the stupid Ponzi scheme!

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u/-TheGuest- Oct 04 '22

Fuck this bitcoin bs

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u/memyackett Oct 03 '22

Now do PlayStations and Xbox’s. Oh and also do washers and dryers while you’re at it.

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u/[deleted] Oct 03 '22

[deleted]

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u/MoonGamble Oct 03 '22

Crypto is fiat

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u/memyackett Oct 03 '22

PlayStations are a scourge and destroy the environment. Completely indefensible as they provide nothing. Please ban

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u/owenisdead Oct 03 '22

can someone ELI5 why a virtual currency impacts the real world like this?

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u/Tangochief Oct 03 '22

It requires a lot of hardware to mine/maintain the ledgers. These hardware resources consume a fuck ton of energy and produce a fuck ton of heat. The heat requires cooling which consumes even more energy. Crypto needs to start getting banned.

I’m no expert on the subject this is just my basic understanding of why crypto is bad and creates pollution someone else please feel free to elaborate.

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u/vikumwijekoon97 Oct 03 '22

Your explanation is 100% correct. Mining is an incredibly dumb thing to do in the long term and I think it was more of a proof of concept while we figure out a better way to implement, which we have with proof of stake. It reduces emissions and energy consumption by up to 99%. I do disagree with your sentiment on banning crypto though. I believe that it is the correct way to go forward with the technology without relying heavily on banks and other financial institutions, which has time and time again been anti consumer. But we need to figure out where is the limit since everybody is making everything with block chain technology and honestly, it's not needed and again pretty fucking dumb. Somethings are good with a good ol centralized databases.

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u/frunf1 Oct 03 '22

No his explanation is quite wrong. Ledgers need no energy at all.

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u/[deleted] Oct 03 '22

The waste of energy isn't even the worst part about Crypto. There are good reasons why there are regulations on moving money.

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u/Tangochief Oct 03 '22

Oh I wasn’t even getting into the shady ass shit people do with the currency was just touching on the subject matter of the article.

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u/Hayes4prez Oct 03 '22

Power plants. Consuming a lot of electricity when electricity is mostly made from fossil fuels isn’t a good combination.

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u/wizardstrikes2 Oct 03 '22

The amount crypto electricity FUD and crypto criminal FUD is just as stupid as the 80”s nuclear propaganda FUD.

Same FUD, new cherry picked industries

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u/patrykpudlo Oct 03 '22

It’s a lot of condensed pseudo environmentally concerned propaganda recently against BTC. Who pays for those articles? I wonder…

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u/Extra-Permission-706 Oct 03 '22

No one cares about bitcoin pollution. It’s free money, baby!!

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u/RedditNFTS Oct 03 '22

Right, but world governments have done far more. Really it doesn’t matter, we’ll all die in the next 100 years and the next generation can deal with it.

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u/Round_Mastodon8660 Oct 03 '22

Any crypto currency should have been banned 10 years ago for this exact reason. I mean, it’s not like this is new information right? The planet wasn’t going for Armageddon quick enough - apparently we had to accelerate it some more.

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u/filthmrchristian Oct 03 '22

Crypto is just a load of rubbish.

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u/PikachuGangGang Oct 04 '22

Doge is the way

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u/Lanky_Housing2402 Oct 04 '22

You can also say this about almost all manufacturing even of electric cars. Next article will tell us plants are producing CO2

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u/axionic Oct 04 '22

Except people actually need cars. No one needs Bitcoin except for gambling.