Bitcoin Mining Could Help Decarbonize Energy Grids, Researchers Say

Does Bitcoin mining assist or harm the surroundings? Blockchain specialists sought a solution to that query in a newly launched, first-of-its-kind educational paper on the matter. Their conclusion: It might assist, with some key adjustments.

“Our findings present that renewable-based mining might doubtlessly drive a net-decarbonizing impact on vitality grids, though key diversifications in mining practices are wanted to totally understand this potential,” reads the summary of the paper, written by blockchain researchers Juan Ignacio Ibanez and Dr. Alexander Freier.

Revealed earlier this week, their evaluation examined the realities of the mining business’s carbon footprint and its potential to broaden renewable vitality capability, offering a “balanced” perspective between either side of the Bitcoin environmental debate. After simply two days, the paper has amassed extra views than 95% of the 24 million papers ever printed on Altmetric.

BIG UPDATE: In it’s first 48 hours the #Bitcoin mining analysis paper is now #1 in views (6 months) and has an altmetric rating of 344.

This paper is now within the high 5% of all papers ever tracked (24+ million) by altmetric 👀

Learn & share the paper:

— Dennis Porter (@Dennis_Porter_) August 10, 2023

Mr. Ibanez didn’t instantly reply to Decrypt’s request for remark.

The evaluation states {that a} collection of “distinctive traits” set miners other than different vitality patrons, serving to present “extra revenue and ancillary companies” to renewable vitality grids. A few of these traits embody flexibility of load, interruptibility, portability, and waste warmth utilization.

For instance, miners will help take up extra energy generated by wind and photo voltaic amenities, serving to these corporations change into extra worthwhile. In addition they could possibly be used to monetize stranded pure fuel and landfill fuel that might in any other case be flared into the ambiance as extremely pollutive methane, utilizing containerized mining and generator options.

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Although mining’s affect on grid administration and renewable energy era is already “seen,” the paper notes that it nonetheless isn’t massive sufficient to affect the sector at massive. “Ought to the adoption of PoW mining intensify, this scale might change,” it acknowledged.

Some challenges on the business’s highway to decarbonization embody the short-term value volatility of BTC itself –which instantly impacts mining profitability – alongside exterior regulatory challenges. Moreover, different applied sciences might “complement Bitcoin mining within the strategy of grid decarbonization,” corresponding to water desalination, CO2 elimination, and batteries.

US Debt Ceiling Deal Blocks 30% Bitcoin Mining Tax: Congressman

Up to now, estimates of Bitcoin’s CO2 emissions differ broadly, relying on the measurements and sources used. On Wednesday, the Bitcoin Mining Council’s survey information recommended that the sector’s sustainable energy combine is roughly 59.9%.

“The convergence of Bitcoin mining and RE utilization calls for constant and evolving analysis efforts,” the report concluded.

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