Bitcoin’s Carbon Emissions Footprint: How Large Is It?

Bitcoin’s Carbon Emissions Footprint: How Large Is It?

Now, if you have been into the blockchain technology industry for a while, you’d realize that the process of mining consumes quite a bit of electricity.

This is quite noticeable, especially where proof of work is required for confirmation of transactions particularly where cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin are concerned.

A few years ago, concerns had risen about the carbon footprint that cryptocurrencies where contributing to greenhouse emissions globally.

Added to this concern was also the long term effect on the mining of cryptocurrencies on the environment.

While this may not sound like much, it has already been estimated by researchers that bitcoin’s carbon footprint is just about the size of a mid-sized Western City (very much like Las Vegas USA or Hamburg Germany).


Some researchers at the Technical University of Munich and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2018 discovered that the entire bitcoin network was responsible for 22-22.9 million tons of CO2 yearly.

Explaining their findings in the Journal Joule, the researchers examined data correlating to the emissions coming from Countries where most of the bitcoin miners are located.

According to the researchers, the power used to mine came majorly from Asia (68%), Europe (17%) and North America (15%) in that order.

In essence, it then shows that Bitcoin’s total emission is something we all need to watch out for.

While certain efforts are being made to use green technologies such as solar, wind and other renewable sources which contribute little or nothing to greenhouse emissions (a study actually found that over 74% of bitcoin mining is powered by renewables), the fact that the remaining 26% can contribute this much emission is still of some concern.

So, for all the fuss being made about bitcoin not being environmentally friendly, bitcoin is actually one of the new disruptive technologies which are actually green!

What are your thoughts about how bitcoin can contribute less to global carbon emissions?

Let us know in the comments below!