Bitcoin mining produces 30 thousand tons of e-waste annually

Bitcoin mining results in about 30,700 tons of e-waste every year. These conclusions were reached by analysts from the Netherlands Central Bank and scientists from the Center for Energy and Environmental Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who published an article about this in the scientific journal Resources, Conservation and Recycling. The study authors note that mining bitcoin requires advanced and expensive special purpose integrated circuits (ASICs). To improve the efficiency of mining, such chips must be regularly replaced with newer and more advanced ones, the service life is on average only 1.3 years.

As scientists note, such chips have no other use cases other than mining, so they quickly become e-waste. According to the authors of the study, in 2020, a total of 112.5 million bitcoin transactions were made, and in terms of the amount of e-waste generated by mining, this gives about 272 g of garbage for each transaction.

In addition to the impact of mining on the volume of e-waste, ecologists are also concerned about the significant carbon footprint of cryptocurrency mining. According to some estimates, mining bitcoin requires the same amount of energy per year as the rest of the Netherlands, and because of this, carbon dioxide emissions reach 23 million tons per year.

Yana Rozhdestvenskaya

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