Bitcoin extraction (BTC) consumes 7 times less energy than aluminum extraction, according to a new study. In particular, 7 times more energy is needed to produce $ 1 of aluminum than Bitcoin's $ 1. In addition, the study compared the costs of the extraction of Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC) and Monero (XMR) to that of gold, platinum, copper and rare earth oxide .
Metal and Cryptocurrency Mining: How much energy do you need?
In "Quantification of energy and carbon costs for mineral cryptocurrencies", researchers compared the average amount of metal energy and cryptocurrency
To begin with, the researchers collected data on cryptocurrency mines from 1 January 2016 until 30 June 2018.
Energy needed to extract $ 1 of cryptocurrency:
- Bitcoin (BTC): 17 megajoules (MJ)
- Monero (XMR): 14 MJ
- Ethereum (ETH): 7 MJ
- Litecoin (LTC): 7 MJ
Energy needed to consume $ 1 of common metals:
- Aluminum: 122 MJ
- Rare earth oxides: 9 MJ
- Platinum: 7 MJ
- Gold: 5 MJ
- Copper: 4 MJ
The extraction of Bitcoin requires a lot of energy and also aluminum
It takes more energy to produce Bitcoins of copper, gold, platinum and rare earth oxides. The only exception is aluminum extraction. In fact, bitcoin extraction requires seven times less energy than traditional aluminum extraction.
Why do aluminum mines consume so much energy?
As shown in the new study, making aluminum is an energy-intensive process that requires a ton of electricity.
Much of this has to do with the chemical composition of aluminum. To begin with, the link between aluminum and oxygen is much stronger than other raw metals. This means that it takes a lot of energy and effort to extract the rough bricks needed to produce aluminum.
But even after separating all the base ore, you still have a long way to go. From there, the aluminum plants enter the mineral through a process called "fusion".
When you extracted the raw aluminum ore from its natural state and then turned it into a usable process, you spent tons of electricity. Much more than the other types of metals and cryptocurrencies.
The environmental cost of cryptocurrency
This study shows both sides of the coin. Yes, the extraction of cryptocurrencies is energy-consuming. But at the same time, it is already more sustainable than other industries that the world is based much more heavily.
Critics have long raised concerns about the environmental impact of crypts. For example, Bitcoin's annual ecological footprint is greater than Switzerland's. Fundamentally, cryptocurrency mining consumes a lot of energy because of the proof-of-work, the algorithm that allows the blockchain technology used by Bitcoin.
But as far as the energy needs of the crypto are concerned, solutions are being sought. For example, Ethereum talked about go to the game test instead of proof of work. This approach would in theory require less calculation and therefore less energy.
So how it is, the extraction of Bitcoin requires 7 times more energy than aluminum, but less than other common metals.