The energy costs for mining Bitcoin are more than twice as high as for gold.
That’s the verdict of researchers at the Oak Ridge Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio, who say that many cryptocurrencies require far more electricity per dollar than it takes to get most real metals out of the ground.
The report shows that a dollar worth of bitcoin takes around 17 megajoules of energy to produce, compared to copper, gold, and platinum, which take four, five, and seven megajoules – one megajoule is roughly 0.277 kWh.
Surprisingly, the study also shows how much 122 MJ it takes to mine aluminum for as little as one dollar.
The location is also important because energy is generated. For example, cryptocurrencies mined in China have four times the carbon footprint than those generated in Canada.
The researchers said, “The comparison is being made to quantify and contextualize the decentralized energy needs that mining these cryptocurrencies will require and to stimulate debate about whether those energy needs are both given the product that results from relatively similar energy consumption sustainable as well as appropriate. “