Crypto is a climate disaster

That talent was on display again recently, when Jobs and Economy Minister Doug Schweitzer talked up his efforts to attract cryptocurrency companies to Alberta right before the market tanked in epic fashion, wiping more than $1.5 trillion off the combined value of the world’s various cryptocurrencies.

In an interview with The Logic, Schweitzer said cryptocurrency is a “big part” of his government’s effort to attract tech jobs to Alberta. “It’s a promising area for us,” he said.

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According to a University of Cambridge analysis, Bitcoin mining — the process by which computers verify and validate the transactions that undergird the crypto universe — consumes 121.36 terawatt-hours of electricity per year, more than Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft combined.

Cryptocurrencies are still flying under the radar in part because most people don’t understand the complicated technology behind them. Perhaps the best explanation ever came from a Twitter user named @theophite, who suggested back in 2018 that people should “imagine if keeping your car idling 24/7 produced solved Sudokus you could trade for heroin.”

But while that’s a funny way to think about crypto, its environmental impact is no laughing matter. And that technology grows more power-hungry — and emissions-intensive — with each passing day.

Opinion: The ever-more massive environmental footprint of #cryptocurrencies might be defensible if they served some essential purpose in our lives, but that’s simply not the case, writes columnist @maxfawcett.

The ever-more massive environmental footprint of cryptocurrencies might be defensible if they served some essential purpose in our lives, but that’s simply not the case.

As Sohale Andrus Mortazavi wrote in a recent essay for Jacobin, “Cryptocurrencies have virtually no legal use case. They’re great for facilitating ransomware, laundering money, distributing narcotics and child porn, running Ponzi schemes, and… not much else. They fail as currencies due to high transaction costs. They fail as ‘digital gold’ or a ‘store of value’ because they consume ludicrous amounts of energy to run what is essentially a glorified spreadsheet.”

In other words, they’re little more than a speculative asset, and one that’s used to advance any number of anti-social activities while helping boil the oceans in the process. At least the Beanie Babies craze never killed anyone.

This content was originally published here.


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