a gold coin with the Bitcoin logo

Doubts About Digital Cryptocurrency

Jun 6, 2023 | Campus Connections, Spring 2023

University of New Mexico researchers have found that, taken as a share of the market price, the climate change impacts of mining the digital cryptocurrency Bitcoin are more comparable to the impacts of extracting and refining crude oil than mining gold. In an analysis published in Scientific Reports the authors suggest that rather than being considered akin to ‘digital gold,’ Bitcoin should instead be compared to much more energy-intensive products, such as beef, natural gas and crude oil.

“We find no evidence that Bitcoin mining is becoming more sustainable over time,” said Benjamin A. Jones, associate professor in the Department of Economics. “Rather, our results suggest the opposite: Bitcoin mining is becoming dirtier and more damaging to the climate over time. In short, Bitcoin’s environmental footprint is moving in the wrong direction.”

Spring 2023 Mirage Magazine Features


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