Crypto mining has become an increasingly popular method of verifying and adding transactions to the blockchain. However, the energy consumption associated with this process has raised significant concerns about sustainability and environmental impact.
The process of crypto mining involves using powerful computers to solve complex mathematical equations, known as proof-of-work. This process requires a considerable amount of computational power and energy, as the computers need to run continuously to process transactions and earn rewards in the form of newly minted cryptocurrencies.
Crypto mining is an energy-consuming business mainly due to the use of fossil fuels, such as coal and natural gas, to power the mining rigs. Cybersecurity firm Kaspersky says the electricity consumption for bitcoin production is equal to the annual energy consumption of Sweden.
Additionally, the growing energy costs of cryptocurrency production contribute to the growing popularity of malicious mining or cryptojacking – threats that infiltrate a user’s device to secretly mine cryptocurrency. The victim might not even be aware that someone is using their device’s processing resources for cryptocurrency mining, as the malware runs in hidden mode.
“While the danger of crypto mining to victims’ devices is well known, the negative impact of this threat on the environment is not so obvious. It is important to understand that the more energy mining consumes, the more carbon dioxide and other harmful substances are emitted into the atmosphere. Protecting customers from this cyber threat not only leads to better digital life but also serves as a preventive measure to increase environmental sustainability, especially where large populations reside,” said Maria Losyukova, Head of Sustainability at Kaspersky.
In 2019, Kaspersky developed and introduced a special methodology that allows consumers and businesses to assess the impact of illegal mining on the environment. In the process, the company says it discovered the amount of energy consumed in mining can reach 1.67 GWh – enough comparable annual energy to power a city or charge 15,000 electric cars.