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Mining cryptocurrencies has always required resources. In addition to using a lot of energy, tons of cubic metres of water are used in the mining process. Today, we’re seeing another type of mining taking place. While miners of today are after virtual assets, they still have a significant impact on the environment.
Most who are familiar with crypto already know how much energy mining demands, but few are concerned about how much water it consumes. It turns out that crypto mining has a much deeper impact on the world’s global water consumption than many imagine. Let’s take a look at how cryptomining is impacting water usage globally.
The Relationship Between Crypto and Water Consumption
The first thing you have to understand is how energy-hungry cryptocurrency mining and transactions are. To put things in perspective, one single transaction on the blockchain can consume as much energy as an average household in a week. Now consider that there have been surges where there have been more than 2.1 million transactions running around the clock all over the planet. In total, these transactions consumed well over 32 terawatt-hours weekly.
The thing is that massive mining operations demand a lot of water. The water is mainly used to cool systems. It has been estimated that mines in North America, Europe, and China use 16 to 50 gallons of water per kWh. When we consider that a terawatt is a trillion watts, we can see how significant that is.
Bitcoin Alone Consumes as Much as 1.3 Billion Gallons of Water Daily
According to a study that was conducted back in 2010, it was estimated that power plants in the US consumed more than 40% of the country’s fresh water, which is roughly 161 billion gallons per day. It was estimated that Bitcoin used the equivalent of about 0.7% of the US’s energy supply during that time.
By this logic, it would mean that Bitcoin alone consumed just over 1 billion gallons of freshwater every day, or 411 billion gallons per year. And keep in mind, this was back when Bitcoin was still largely unknown. Today, it is estimated that Bitcoin mining consumes 61.76 terawatt-hours per year, which is about the same consumption as countries like Switzerland and the Czech Republic.
The Implications for Miners
Mining consuming so much water also means that crypto miners living in countries where they have to pay for water will have to find ways to save on their water costs. They also have to keep a close eye on their consumption and find ways to save, not only for their bottom line, but for the sake of the environment as well.
Thankfully, there are services like Utility Bidder that allow people from all industries to find the best deals on energy and water in their area. These teams are also able to negotiate deals on your behalf to facilitate the search.
Crypto miners will also need to start looking at more energy-efficient ways to mine. Some have proposed the use of biofuels derived from hay or even litter. More efficient systems are also being created. However, these will only translate to more people getting into mining and increasing energy consumption in the process.
The impact cryptocurrency mining has on water and energy consumption is alarming and needs to be addressed. The issue is that so many are already invested, and turning back the tide might be difficult, if not impossible.