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UNU Report: How Bitcoin Mining Impacts Climate, Water and Land

A new report from the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH) offers the first multi-attribute estimation of the environmental footprint of the global bitcoin ‘mining’ network, including its carbon, water and land footprints.

Bitcoin mining is the term given to the computational process carried out by networked computers to solve extremely complicated cryptographical problems in order to verify bitcoin transactions, and generate more units of bitcoin (BTC). 

The water footprint of BTC mining is significant, amounting to about 1.65 cubic kilometers (km3) from 2020 to 2021. This is comparable to the volume of water required to fill over 660,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. 

The Hidden Environmental Cost of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin Mining Impacts Climate, Water and Land evaluates the mining activities of different nations, and emphasizes the need for immediate policy interventions to monitor, regulate, and mitigate the environmental consequences of digital currencies. 

  • Explore the report here.

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