Constant Drain On Electricity of Bitcoin Mining “Threatens Our Existence,” Says Dr. Jon Truby
It is no secret in the cryptocurrency industry that BitCoin mining, and the mining of other tokens, takes a lot of electricity to process. However, it seems that this was never accounted for during the creation of the industry, as this process alone has dramatically reduced the effect that managing greenhouse gas emissions has had.
Dr. Jon Truby, the director of the Centre for Law and Development at Qatar University, has noted this lack of planning on Bitcoin’s part, explaining that the environmental impact is substantial. Due to the changes it is making to the very core of the planet’s ecosystem, Truby is body enough to say that it “threatens our existence,” and believes that the industry needs to find a solution. One such solution, he believes, is to stop similar technologies from coming to fruition, and limiting mining.
Unfortunately, the reality is that these cryptocurrencies are too valued among their investors to just fade away into nonexistence out of the concern for the earth. However, Truby implores the industry to design motels for mining and related technology that have a more environmentally-friendly method of expanding.
In a paper titled “Decarbonizing Bitcoin: Law and policy choices for reducing the energy consumption of Blockchain technologies and digital currencies,” Truby discusses the concerns. He wrote, “The problem will only worsen. The higher the value of Bitcoin, the greater the incentive to mine, and new digital currencies will be developed with similar carbonized models.” He continued on a realistically positive note, saying, “However, as the underlying technology can offer significant benefits, it is here to stay, so future models must be designed without reliance on energy consumption so disproportionate to their economic or social benefits.”
During his paper, one of Truby’s desires is to see new regulations that restrict the level of carbon emissions that it can use for each gigahash. Along with incentives to motivate companies to have less intrusive methods of mining and blockchains, he also says that the involvement of the government can help here. By providing alternative fiscal tools, like grants or safe spaces for developers that follow emissions requirements, these companies may be further motivated to consider some changes to their usual protocol. Alternatively, he also said that there should be a restriction on the devices used, which would impose new taxes for those who violate the policy.
Truby emphasizes, “The goal of any intervention focused upon the machinery would be to indirectly impact upon the behavior of developers, motivating them to amend the model of existing and particularly future systems towards a less polluting and more sustainable transaction verification model. It could also motivate manufacturers of such devices to produce low energy versions.”
Unfortunately, Truby remains realistic. It is impossible to have such a massively positive impact on the environment without having the cooperation of regulators around the world. It may even mean that these operations have to move underground.
Still, the market has the power to achieve this balance. With just a gentle push in the right direction, the price of electricity alone may be enough to reshape some of the bitcoin mining sector of the industry, which is better than nothing.
The entirety of the paper can be viewed here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214629618301750.