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Bitcoin mining could help slow climate change

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surround the dominant media narrative Bitcoin It is one of the energy-hungry digital assets used for speculation. Agencies ranging from local governments to the World Economic Forum (WEF) tout Bitcoin’s enormous energy use. driving factor We publish reports comparing energy consumption with different countries.

This story was further fueled by the controversial China mining ban By 2021, more than half of Bitcoin’s total hashrate has moved abroad. Other countries and provinces within China followed suit, allowing Bitcoin to gain a very bad reputation among environmentalists.

However, the mining industry is fighting back against most of these. unfair Claim. Miners have worked hard to turn Bitcoin into a positive force in the fight against climate change — through methane.

Bitcoin, methane and climate change

Carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels are thought to be the biggest source of pollution today, but in fact the by-products of oil drilling are causing more serious damage to the environment.

When fossil fuel companies drill for oil, they often encounter underground methane gas. Methane, a very powerful greenhouse gas, wreaks havoc on the environment when released into the atmosphere.

Companies have three options when encountering methane near an oil rig. Either reinject the gas into the ground, take it to a pipeline and sell it, or dispose of it. Reinjecting the gas into the ground can maintain the pressure that drives the oil out of the well, but this is not always possible. Building new pipelines is rarely economically viable, and few wells reach close enough to existing pipelines to take advantage of them.

This means that most of the gas found in oil fields is either released into the atmosphere or burned. Burning or flaring of methane releases large amounts of carbon dioxide into the air. It’s slightly better than pure methane, but it’s still disastrous for the environment.

For a handful of resourceful companies, Bitcoin seemed like the obvious solution.

There are now several companies offering plug-and-play Bitcoin mining farms that can be installed directly in the oil field. Methane found in the field is sent to a special engine or generator where it is combusted to produce electricity. This is used to power Bitcoin miners.

Bitcoin mining is inherently not only economically sustainable, but it can also be highly profitable for oil and gas companies to burn methane. And with financial incentives as attractive as bitcoin, the industry expects more and more big companies to jump at the opportunity.

According to Adam Ortolf, Upstream Data’s head of US business development, this was not always the case. Upstream, a Canadian company that manufactures and provides portable mining solutions for oil and gas facilities, has experienced rapid business growth over the past two years.and interview Ortolf told CNBC that it took him years to convince people that using excess methane to mine bitcoin was a financially sound idea.

Giga, another company offering a similar solution, told CNBC that it expects to surpass $4 million in revenue in 2021 and surpass $20 million by the end of 2022. Monetization of waste methane from mining.

This novel idea spread like wildfire, and big companies like Exxon launched their own pilot projects to mine Bitcoin using waste methane.Exxon is reportedly has been driving natural gas to mine Bitcoin in North Dakota throughout 2021, but has remained silent on the matter.

a report Researchers at Crusoe Energy estimate that mining Bitcoin in oilfields can reduce carbon footprint by 63% compared to flaring.Some estimate that methane is 84 times more warming It affects the climate more than carbon dioxide in 20 years. Burning methane that would otherwise have been released into the atmosphere is considered carbon negative by various experts and agencies, including Carbon Credits, EPA, Trillium Energy, and the White House.

The Joe Biden administration report Regarding cryptocurrency mining in September 2022, he noted that using cryptocurrency mining to capture emitted methane could have positive climate consequences.

a report According to BatCoinz, the carbon footprint from mitigating both flare and vent methane will erase the carbon footprint of almost all other energy sources. If all of the reported flares and vented methane in the U.S. were used to power Bitcoin miners, the Bitcoin network could reduce global emissions to 2 in just 27 months. Some even estimate it can be reduced by 10%.

and Bitcoin AmsterdamTroy Cross, Fellow of the Bitcoin Policy Institute, one of Europe’s largest Bitcoin conferences this month, discussed Bitcoin’s environmental impact during his keynote address. Cross presented a viable solution on how to use his Bitcoin mining to mitigate the effects of methane pollution, acknowledging its positive impact on reducing global carbon emissions.

bitcoin mining climate change
Graph showing the estimated carbon footprint of various energy sources (Source: BatCoinz)

The fact that Bitcoin can achieve carbon neutrality in 2024 is a solid counter-argument to critics of its impact on climate change.

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