Crypto and the Environment: How Can We Make a Difference?

Region: Europe
Jun 4, 2021, 1:00:00 PM Published By Wirex Team

Environmental activism is constantly evolving, and recently there’s been a new addition to the conversation: crypto.

We’ve already talked about the ways that we here at Wirex are trying to do our part to be greener (beyond our signature green cards), but today we want to expand the conversation and have a look at the impact the crypto industry is currently having on the environment, as well as looking to the future. World Environment Day is the perfect time to discuss what the impact of a digital economy could be.

Why are people talking about crypto and the environment?

When people think of the environment, they don’t often think about the impact of money. Studies have shown that the production of polymer bank notes releases 8.77kg of CO2, almost three times more than the previous paper notes, while plastic cards represent just 20.8g, meaning going cashless has already made a big impact.

Other research has shown the damage coins have on the environment. The American Council on Science and Health found that the mining and transportation of pennies produces around 48,000 tonnes of CO2. Simply by carrying around pennies since 1982, over 107 million pounds of carbon dioxide have been emitted, on top of the emissions caused by vehicles for transportation.

What’s more, the same study estimates that about two thirds of pennies in the USA don’t even circulate; they simply get thrown out or sit around in jars. Of course, there are many countries where cash is still king, but moving towards a more digital economy is making a difference.

How can companies make crypto more eco-friendly?

Following Elon Musk’s recent comments about the environmental impact of mining bitcoin, all eyes turned to crypto. Even though numerous studies have shown that bitcoin mining actually consumes less non-renewable energy than the traditional banking industry, crypto companies have been keen to show the world the many benefits crypto can offer – for consumers and the environment.

CoinTelegraph recently reported that Marathon Digital Holdings, which is a Bitcoin mining company located in the USA, unveiled their plans to achieve 70% carbon neutrality for its crypto mining operations. Similarly, Greenidge, another Bitcoin mining company is planning to offset all greenhouse gas emissions from its Bitcoin mining facilities from 1st June 2021.

Despite the fact that studies have shown that around 73% of the energy consumed by Bitcoin mining is already carbon neutral, seeing more crypto companies take further steps to make their operations greener is a great step to help the crypto movement.

Still unsure? There are plenty of options!

While Bitcoin may be the most well-known crypto, it definitely isn’t the only option. With new coins being created every day, some sources state there are over 4000 different coins currently out there, while others say the number is over 7000.

Not all cryptocurrencies require mining though, which is where Bitcoin has drawn its criticism. In fact, there are several cryptocurrencies that require virtually no energy to produce or trade. Coins such as XRP and NANO (both of which you can buy on the Wirex platform) don’t require any kind of mining and, as a result, use basically no energy.

There are even cryptocurrencies out there that are produced exclusively as a result of renewable energy.

The sheer amount of options available means it’s really easy to think consciously about your carbon footprint when it comes to cryptocurrencies, and when better to start than World Environment Day?