More salacious headlines and fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) have emerged this week over Bitcoin mining energy and water usage. A new study and mainstream media reports claim that BTC transactions are causing a global water shortage.
According to the BBC, a new study by Alex de Vries of VU Amsterdam claims every Bitcoin transaction uses “enough water to fill a backyard swimming pool.”
Bitcoin Water Usage Under Spotlight
The outlandish claim stems from a hypothetical calculation of the amount of water needed to cool BTC mining rigs across the globe.
The report and crypto critic de Vries suggested that Bitcoin mining was contributing to the global water shortage. Bitcoin consumed nearly 1,600 billion liters, also called gigalitres, of water in 2021. It could consume as much as 2,200 billion liters in 2023, according to the study.
So, in addition to Bitcoin creating the climate crisis, as Senator Elizabeth Warren believes, it will now cause everyone to die of thirst.
The reports are misleading because water is not destroyed when used for industrial cooling purposes. Additionally, Bitcoin mining operations often use excess power and repurposed water from hydroelectric facilities.
Moreover, Bitcoin mining is becoming more sustainable thanks to innovations such as hydro-cooling farms and waste gas flare usage.
The truth is that things are quickly improving on the Bitcoin energy usage front from an environmental perspective.
According to a study by Cornell University, wind and solar projects can profit from Bitcoin mining during their pre-commercial development phases.
The scientists said that setting up mining operations could reduce the environmental impact of cryptocurrency. Additionally, it could also provide revenue that could be reinvested in future renewable energy projects.
Bitcoin Mining Better for Power Grids
Another research paper has used case studies to determine that Bitcoin miners can be beneficial for power grids.
The research stated that mining’s inherent interruptibility and swift load response capabilities could enhance power grid flexibility. This would enable grids to better integrate variable renewable energy sources and load balancing.
It was also recently reported that Bitcoin clean energy usage had exceeded 50%.
So it’s not all doom and gloom. And no, Bitcoin is not on a fast track to destroy the planet. But those with agendas will keep pushing them.
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