It is not a surprise that cryptocurrency transactions are harmful to the planet, leaving a negative impact on its e-waste.
A new study from the Resources, Conservation and Recycling journal has measured approximately how much waste bitcoin transactions generate in a year. The research has stated that ASIC chips are only in use for a little over a year and are always being replaced with newer and more effective ones by miners. Due to the rapid changes, the leads to a lot of waste produced.
Researchers have written, “As a result, we estimate that the whole bitcoin network currently cycles through 30.7 metric kilotons of equipment per year. This number is comparable to the amount of small IT and telecommunication equipment waste produced by a country like the Netherlands.”
If placed into context, each bitcoin transaction adds up to at least 272 grams of e-waste, equivalent to 0.59 pounds. This means that it is worth about two iPhone 12 Minis of e-waste. With over 112.5 million bitcoin transactions made in 2020, it goes without saying that there have been millions upon millions of iPhone Minis worth wasted per year. E-waste can consist of an abundance of toxic chemicals and heavy metals that enter the soil and harm ecosystems and groundwater. With improper recycling methods, it could lead to greater air and water pollution.
As bitcoin becomes more and more popular, the problem of e-waste is expected to worsen very quickly over time. However, this is all dependent on whether or not the price of bitcoin will continue to increase. Considering that the price for cryptocurrency has reached a peak in 2021, e-waste could grow to more than 64.4 metric kilotons. There has yet to be a solution for excessive bitcoin mining and the negative impact it has on waste.
In case you missed it, this father-son hacker duo is helping people crack into their lost bitcoin wallets.