Bitcoin mining emissions in China will hit 130 million tonnes

The carbon emissions associated with mining bitcoin have accelerated rapidly in China, and they will soon outstrip the total annual emissions of mid-sized European countries.

Analysis by Guan Dabo at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, and his colleagues suggests that the total carbon footprint of bitcoin mining in China will peak in 2024, releasing around 130 million metric tonnes of carbon.

This figure exceeds the annual carbon emissions of countries including Italy and the Czech Republic.

By 2024, bitcoin mining in China will require 297 terawatt-hours of energy and account for approximately 5.4 per cent of the carbon emissions from generating electricity in the country.

Mining bitcoin relies on computers racing to solve mathematical puzzles, with miners receiving bitcoin for being the first to process a batch of verified transactions.

The number of bitcoin awarded for this are halved every four years, and the puzzles have become more difficult and require more computing oomph to solve. The cost of powerful computer equipment and the electricity to run it has also increased.The researchers predicted the emissions peak in China in 2024 based on calculations of when the overall cost of mining – the investment in computing equipment and the electricity costs – outweighs the financial rewards of selling mined bitcoin.

They used both financial projections and carbon emissions analysis to model the emissions footprint in China, taking into account factors such as location. “Are you in Shanghai, Beijing, or other places? That does matter because it determines what type of electricity you use,” says Guan. “Overall, from all of China’s bitcoin mining activity, 40 per cent is powered by coal.”

Bitcoin miners in Beijing or other parts of northern China are very likely to be using electricity from coal-powered plants. Mining in southern provinces – especially Guizhou, Yunnan and Sichuan – is in large part powered by hydroelectricity, says Guan.

Given China’s commitment to a 2060 net-zero carbon goal, regulations to reduce carbon emissions from bitcoin mining and future emergent sectors will need to be implemented, he says.

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Deciding the Right Path to Success

There is no pre-set rules or text books available that can guide a young graduate to succeed in his corporate career. He merely needs to know what he truly desire and have a strong determination to reach his goal. Without it, it is unlikely anyone can succeed, even if he is blessed with a lot of good luck along the way. In addition, he needs to stay focus and consistent in his pursuit and not be distracted no matter what.

Keeping focused on your goal means that we’re purposely fading out everything that pulls you away from your goal. It’s a disciplined lifestyle of choosing to see every struggle throught the lens of a single mindedness pursuit.

Focus on your goal, not your proble. Listen to your heart, not your insecurities. Don’t focus on your adversaries instead focus on possibilities. Understanding the bigger picture and the purposes. Take a break and celebrate every little success that come your way. Reward yourself once you have completed a task and repeat the same with a bigger reward when you achieve a bigger task in the future. Keep doing it and be persistent.

At the end of the day, one also need be pragmatic and if need be to adjust your goal in line with the latest development, trend and changes in the market. For example, it be suicidal to still pursue a career in film based photography in light of digital era and son on.

Lessons

Dare to network from a very young age. Join in for social events and seminars. Collect contacts and keep in touch
Be curious and explore what is out there
Be “seen” in the social networks to keep others informed of your availability and progress constantly
Dare to reach out to senior level people, even if they don’t notice you
Focus on investing / creating a name for yourself where your skills set are sought after and notice
Avoid being a generalist, but rather a specialist where your skills are unique and become more valuable as you ages
Many of Robert’s peers that progress usually do not depend on job applications or headhunters but rather on ex colleagues and ex bosses who are impressed with their skills while they were together. You be surprised how one can quickly climb the corporate ladders bypassing the need to wait for the next long list of grades purposely created to slow down the progress of any employee because of this “connection” built over the years.

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‘Green’ bitcoin alternative Chia is leading to hard disc shortages

Cryptocurrencies based on owning a large number of hard discs, rather than using computer processors, could offer a less energy-intensive alternative to bitcoin and might even make it cheaper to build data centres – although one is already causing soaring demand for hard discs that is disrupting supply chains.

Bitcoin and several other popular cryptocurrencies are created, or mined, using a concept called proof of work, which involves solving computationally difficult puzzles that consume a large amount of electricity. Bitcoin’s annual electricity consumption is estimated to be 148 terawatt-hours and rising, or around the same amount as Poland’s. Now, rival currencies are emerging that instead make use of large numbers of empty hard discs, a concept known as proof of space.

Because hard drives are less energy-intensive to run than processors, proof-of-space currencies are touted as being more environmentally friendly. However, demand for one such currency, Chia, has become so high that some Asian countries, such as Vietnam, are reporting shortages of hard discs. The same phenomenon occurred with graphics cards, which proved to be extremely efficient at mining certain proof-of-work cryptocurrencies. Currently, around 3 million terabytes of hard disc space are being devoted entirely to mining Chia, enough to store 3 billion movies.

Jason Feist at hard drive manufacturer Seagate says the company is experiencing strong orders and that staff were working to “adjust to market demand”.

He also suggested that these new cryptocurrencies could provide a way for companies building large data centres to offset the cost by turning them over to mining. “Chia, and similar technologies such as Filecoin and Sia, show potential ways businesses can turn their idle infrastructure into ongoing revenue,” says Feist.

Michel Rauchs at the University of Cambridge says that while bitcoin’s proof-of-work approach is well understood, proof-of-space alternatives are still in their infancy.Other consensus algorithms that are less energy-intensive but also introduce some level of centralisation and subjectivity might be an acceptable trade-off. There are always trade-offs involved, most of which tend to only become known over time,” he says.

Aron Peterson, who works in digital production for the film industry in the UK, says that people in his field started to notice the price of computing hardware creeping above manufacturer-listed prices around six years ago. He puts it down to the demand for graphics cards by cryptocurrency miners.

“It was causing frustration among creatives and gamers who didn’t want to purchase upgrades at inflated prices just because other people were wasting huge amounts of electricity to compete for digital tokens,” he says.

After deciding to try mining himself, Peterson found that it was using significant energy. He also predicted that it would take five months before mining any coins. “Obviously I wasn’t going to run this experiment for five months, especially if the estimated time continued to climb as new miners appeared,” he says.

Peterson isn’t convinced by Chia’s green credentials, saying bitcoin miners are unlikely to switch because it would require them to buy new hardware. “Instead of displacement, it’s an additional crypto to be mined,” he says.

“Aside from the energy usage, this results in mountains of electronic waste as hard drives will fail faster and more often,” says Peterson. “The poorest people in the world already live with mountains of e-waste pollution we dump on them and this is just going to add to that.”

Chia Network, the firm behind the cryptocurrency, didn’t respond to a request for comment.

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