- The amount of electronic waste that emanates from one Bitcoin transaction is equal to throwing away two iPhone 12s.
- Researchers further claimed that in the one year to May 2021, Bitcoin produced the same amount of hardware waste as a country like the Netherlands.
By now, you have probably heard of countless attacks on Bitcoin in relation to its energy use. But there’s more, and the latest attack is now related to hardware wastage. A new study has claimed that the amount of electronic waste that is produced for a single BTC transaction is equal to binning two iPhone 12s.
Bitcoin mining, which is the process by which new BTC is minted and blocks created, has evolved from a simple activity one would undertake on his laptop to a complex and very expensive game done through powerful ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits). And with new technology debuting every few months that conserves power and enhances output, miners have to buy the latest miners quite often to stay competitive.
These ASIC rigs are the subject of the latest attack by a group of researchers in Europe and the U.S. They claim that these miners have been dumping tens of thousands of tonnes every year of this mining equipment and contributing to the ever-growing environmental challenge.
The researchers found that the average lifespan of a Bitcoin mining rig is 1.29 years. As a result, from the 112.5 million transactions on the Bitcoin network in 2020, there were 33,800 tonnes of electronic waste. In the year ending in May 2021, the waste stood at 30,700 tonnes. This is more electronic waste than all the small IT and telecommunication equipment thrown out by all of the Netherlands.
This amounts to 9.5 ounces for each transaction, about the weight of two iPhone 12 minis, as The Guardian reports.
From energy waste to electronic waste
“Bitcoin miners cycle through a growing amount of short-lived hardware that could exacerbate the growth in global electronic waste,” the researchers, led by Dutch central bank’s data scientist Alex De Vries and MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research’s Christian Stoll stated.
E-waste represents a growing threat to our environment, from toxic chemicals and heavy metals leaching into soils, to air and water pollutions caused by improper recycling.
De Vries and Stoll believe that the Bitcoin network should look at ways of reducing this e-waste footprint. One of the ways they suggested this could be done was via a switch to the Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism. They commended Ethereum for starting the switch. , although it’s usually for energy conservation reasons, not for the e-waste).
“If that ever happens in Bitcoin then even this currency could actually become sustainable, but currently nobody in Bitcoin is working on this,” De Vries told The Independent.
In Argentina, several businesses accept payments in BTC, DOGE, other cryptos
Imagine going on vacation and being able to pay both your Uber driver and Airbnb host with crypto. This sounds like a fantasy for many but is reportedly now a reality for users in Argentina.
Regional news publications announced that the crypto company Bitrefill was offering 138 prepaid cards in order to pay to different businesses. Some taking part in the initiative include Frávega, Lacoste, Dexter, Isadora, Cheeky, Airbnb, Uber, Movistar, Claro, and Personal.
Users can pay in six different cryptocurrencies, which are Bitcoin [BTC], Ether [ETH], Dogecoin [DOGE], Litecoin [LTC], Tether [USDT], and Dash [DASH]. However, in order to use the card, assets are first converted to dollars or euros, and then converted again to Argentine Pesos [ARS] to complete the transaction.
What does Bitrefill’s initiative reveal about the state of crypto adoption in Argentina? Data may hold the answer. The Blockchain LatAm Report 2021 by Sherlock Communications stated,
“…66% of respondents were most concerned with protecting their savings. This reflects recent inflation rates in the country: 36.1% in 2020 and 53.8% in 2019, the highest in 28 years.”
Furthermore, as people in Argentina are legally restricted from buying more than a small and taxable amount of U.S. dollars every month, the attraction of crypto is easy to understand. Adding to this, there are around 20 legal crypto exchanges in the country, and one of them – Ripio – hit a million users in 2020.
However, it’s worth noting that there is a tax of 15% on income gained from selling digital currencies. At the last count, there were 12 Bitcoin ATMs/tellers in Argentina. Out of these, 11 were located in Buenos Aires.
Not just a shopping spree…
Apart from crypto adoption, companies are also eyeing the country as a destination for Bitcoin mining. One major reason for this is the cheap cost of electricity in Argentina, with subsidies for the same.
In October, the Canada-based Bitfarms announced that it was constructing a 210 megawatt BTC mining farm in Argentina. More than 55,000 new mining rigs are expected to be on-site. According to the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, Argentina’s share of the average monthly hashrate in August 2021 was 0.05%.
Hedge Fund Billionaire Paul Tudor Jones Says Gold Losing the Race Against Crypto As Inflation Hedge
Hedge fund billionaire Paul Tudor Jones says that crypto is currently his preferred way of hedging against inflation.
In a new interview with CNBC, Jones says that crypto has acted as a great hedge as of late and is winning the race against gold.
“Crypto has been a great hedge… I said then, I said now, I’ve got crypto in single digits in my portfolio. I have a small trading position in our fund. I do think we’re moving into an increasingly digitized world. Clearly, there’s a place for crypto, and clearly, it’s winning the race against gold at the moment. So yes, I would think that would also be a very good inflation hedge. It would be my preferred one over gold at the moment.”
The billionaire, who heads investment management firm Tudor Investment Corporation, says that while the new Bitcoin futures exchange-traded fund (ETF) is a regulated and legitimate product, he thinks a better investment is to own physical BTC.
“I think a better way to get in would be to actually own physical Bitcoin, to take the time to learn how to own it and carry it. I think the ETF will be fine. I think the fact that it’s SEC approved should give you great comfort.”
The investor says that embracing Bitcoin is part of the American character and that China’s refusal to do so may have economic consequences for the country in the future.
“I think crypto is here to stay. Look, this is the United States of America right? The reason we’re the most dominant economic power [in] the world is because we unleash our individual entrepreneurialism and creativity. And you’re seeing China do the exact opposite. That place is on, economically, a slow boat to the South Pole. As long as the US can continue to unchain our entrepreneurs, we’re going to always be in the dominant position.”
The Real Opportunity for Bitcoin and Crypto Will Come From This Group of Investors, Says Shark Tank Star Kevin O’Leary
Shark Tank investor Kevin O’Leary says that a group of investors could transform Bitcoin (BTC) and the crypto markets when they decide to allocate capital to the space.
In a new interview with Bitcoin bull Anthony Pompliano on The Best Business Show, the celebrity investor says that there will be a massive opportunity for crypto once sovereign funds in the Middle East invest in digital assets.ADVERTISEMENT
“The real opportunity is not with the family offices or hedge funds that operate out of the Middle East. The real money is in the actual sovereign funds in both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It’s billions and billions and billions of dollars.
They have not allocated to crypto yet. When that happens, you’ll see it reflected in the price of Bitcoin. There’s no question about it. They have such long-term views in those funds, and the funds are so large.”
O’Leary says that given the size and number of the funds, even a 1% allocation would have an impact on the markets.
“They generally abide by discipline and principles of risk diversification, so they may have a mandate, for example, that no stock represent more than 5% of the fund or no sector more than 20%. Those are diversification mandates that are used all around the world, and they do that there, too.
But when you’re dealing with a multi-billion dollar mandate, and some of these, they’re the largest pools of capital in the world. A 1% allocation is a tremendous amount of money.”
The investor says at the moment, Bitcoin is the only digital asset on the sovereign funds’ radar. He predicts that they could easily decide to allocate 1-3% just on BTC.
“I speak to those guys almost every day. They would immediately go to 1% to 3% on Bitcoin alone. Just Bitcoin, let alone Ethereum or any level-1 or level-2s on the chain. They haven’t even thought about that. They’re just thinking about Bitcoin and owning that as an asset. The amount of capital that will come into this market when the regulator approves Bitcoin as an asset or currency or a security, or whatever they’re going to regulate it as is going to be unbelievable.”