Bitcoin - Is It Really The Best Investment For Your Business?
The cryptocurrency Bitcoin has been on a tear in recent weeks surging in value to nearly $20,000 USD. Despite Bitcoin’s sky-rocketing value, it provides little public benefit while driving up energy consumption and contributing significantly to global warming. The extensive mining of Bitcoin being done by a relatively small pool of speculative investors is going to have a permanent impact on the rest of us and our planet.
The energy demands of a large-scale Bitcoin mining operation are staggering. One of the largest Bitcoin mining operations in China is estimated to use approximately 21,000 computers. The energy used by these computers, and the energy used to cool them, is only a small part of the 30 TWh global annual total. That’s roughly equivalent to the energy usage of three million U.S. households. With more than 50% of Bitcoin mining based in China, much of that energy is generated from dirty sources like coal that significantly pollute air and water sources and create large amounts of greenhouse gases.
Bitcoin is not widely used in the open market and some experts say it’s highly unlikely to ever become a usable currency due to the lengthy time and high fees associated with each transaction. So right now, Bitcoin mining is creating a significant environmental problem without any public benefit and this issue is projected to only increase as more people start mining the currency in response to the surging prices.
Bitcoin was originally created as a way to eliminate traditional banks, restore public trust in the financial system, and make financial transactions more transparent. If Bitcoin was actually a way to complete regular transactions, it would indeed have the potential to contribute to the public good. However, right now, Bitcoin is no more than a speculative investment market with people investing in Bitcoin as a way to make money – not to use as money itself.
As Bitcoin fails to realize its intended purpose, it’s creating benefits for the few and environmental consequences for the many. With less than three years left to reduce carbon emissions and maintain a livable planet, many experts believe that Bitcoin is not an investment we can afford to make.