Bitcoin Network Carbon Emissions Increased 17% After China Ban: Report

The Bitcoin network’s proof-of-work mining consensus has long been the subject of environmental, social and governance (ESG) debates and a new study can only add to the growing controversy surrounding BTC’s carbon footprint.

A new research report titled “Revisiting Bitcoin’s Carbon Footprint,” published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Joules, has highlighted that China’s crypto mining ban may not have contributed to the reduction of the Bitcoin network’s carbon footprint, as propagated by many Bitcoiners. , on the contrary, it has increased by 17%.

China was the main hub for Bitcoin miners before May 2021, accounting for more than 60% of the Bitcoin network’s total hashpower. However, the general ban imposed by the government led to the migration of most of the mining companies from the country. China’s share of BTC mining hashpower fell from over 60% in May to nearly zero in August, with miners moving to the United States, Russia and Kazakhstan.

Crypto experts predicted that the migration of miners from China would not only make BTC mining more decentralized and greener, but the new Joule report shows otherwise. The new research report highlighted that the amount of renewable energy used to power BTC mining has fallen from 42% to about 25% since August last year.

Top Electricity Sources for Bitcoin Mining Source: Joule

Related: Georgia Strikes Way Above Its Weight for Bitcoin Mining: Report

The study tracked the source of electricity that powers mining activities to calculate the carbon emissions of the BTC network and found that the main crypto blockchain emits 65 megatons of carbon dioxide annually. The study concluded that miners in China were more focused on renewable energy than most of the current top mining countries.

Alex de Vries, one of the authors of the report, told Coin-Crypto:

Overall, the study shows how Bitcoin mining became even dirtier after last year’s Chinese mining crackdown. Many of the hydropower miners that used to have access here have now been replaced by natural gas (in the US). In addition, the coal flow in Kazakhstan is also dirtier than the Chinese coal flow. All in all, that makes proof of work mining even more carbon-intensive than it already was.”

The Joule journal study further contradicts a report pushed by the Bitcoin Mining Council led by MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor, who claimed that the Bitcoin network uses up to 66% renewable energy.

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