More and more people are getting into cryptocurrency mining, but how does this process affect the environment?
Cryptocurrency is a digital form of exchange that makes use of a decentralized peer-to-peer network to produce, record, and send the coins over the chain. The mining process involves miners competing to solve complex computing algorithms via cryptographic validation, and the first one who solves the hash gets rewarded in the currency. Blocks of these verified transactions are then added to the chain.
According to researchers from The University of New Mexico who are looking into the environmental impact of crypto mining, there are several areas which are greatly affected by this operation:
“What is most striking about this research is that it shows that the health and environmental costs of cryptocurrency mining are substantial; larger perhaps than most people realized,” said Benjamin Jones, UNM researcher.
But the process of verifying these currencies requires a lot of computational power, which, in turn, demands a huge amount of energy.
The paper called “Cryptodamages: Monetary value estimates of the air pollution and human health impacts of cryptocurrency mining“ evaluates the environmental effect of these cryptocurrency mining techniques. The University of New Mexico researchers Andrew Goodkind (asst. professor, Economics), Benjamin Jones (asst. professor, Economics) and Robert Berrens (professor, Economics) are using existing data on the energy used by cryptocurrency and a set of economic valuation techniques to determine just how much cryptocurrency mining costs.
“Our expertise is in estimating the monetary damages, due to health and environmental impacts, of different economics activities and sectors,” Berrens clarified. “For example, it is common for economists to study the impacts from energy use connected to production and consumption patterns in agriculture, or with automobile production and use. In a world confronting climate…