The Bitcoin Industry’s Environmental Impacts
Despite some setbacks, the world’s first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, is proving to be profitable and becoming more popular. But along with some market volatility and criticism from observers of trends in the digital currency industry, there are warnings about the potentially harmful environmental impacts of creating Bitcoin. The electronic “mining” of Bitcoin requires a vast network of computers, which use a lot of energy and collectively produce a lot of heat. Urban climate expert Ariane Middel, a Fulton Schools assistant professor, says the added heat might become a factor in pushing up temperatures, especially in hot climates like that of Phoenix and other desert cities. For now, the impact is minuscule, but if Bitcoin-mining data centers proliferate, the industry could contribute to intensifying the urban heat island effect that’s now affecting many cities.