It’s never been a secret that mining cryptocurrency is a power hungry enterprise, but it seems it’s using even more power than most of us realised. According to a graph from a recently released White House report, cryptocurrency mining used more power than every single computer in the United States, including everything from Windows PCs to MacOS laptops.
It’s a pretty big gap as well, with crypto mining coming in at 50 billion kWh across the year, while computers settle in at a relatively paltry 35 billion kWh. Even when taking upper and lower brackets for the potential power into account, crypto’s lower limit may still be slightly above computers, showing the sheer size of the disparity.
The upper limits of the power use are also worth mentioning too, as they catapult crypto power use above that of televisions, and even start to rival the power consumption for lighting. Yes, creating cryptocurrency could well have ended up using more power throughout the United States than all the televisions and all the lighting.
Those numbers are especially depressing when you consider that cryptocurrency doesn’t really do much for anyone, except make money for a very specific number of people. That number is shrinking too, thanks to the recent crash in cryptocurrency prices. Using up so much energy doesn’t just increase carbon emissions, but it can also increase the price that people near the crypto miners pay for their energy, causing very real harm to neighbors’ budgets and bottom lines.
The report comes as part of the U.S. government’s proposed Digital Asset Mining Energy (DAME) excise tax, which would tax crypto miners heavily. How heavily? The tax would be equal to roughly 30% of the cost of the electricity used for mining. If that sounds like the white House is trying to deter cryptocurrency mining to you, then you’d be absolutely correct.
"Currently, cryptomining firms do not have to pay for the full cost they impose on others, in the form of local environmental pollution, higher energy prices, and the impacts of increased greenhouse gas emissions on the climate," is a quote from the proposal, and it makes clear that the U.S. government is through with letting crypto miners do what they like.
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