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Bitcoin Is Red Hot. Can It Ever Be Green?: QuickTake

Feb. 10, 2021, 5:10 PM

Can you love Bitcoin and the environment at the same time? The digital currency depends on so-called miners whose high-powered computers run day and night, soaking up electricity to perform the calculations used to verify transactions. Since almost two-thirds of mining takes place in China, where coal is the biggest source of electricity, that means more emissions. Supporters argue that Bitcoin’s carbon output is a drop in the global bucket, and that a switch to pollution-free power sources is already underway and likely to accelerate.

1. How much power is involved?

That’s hard to say. In 2018, BloombergNEF pegged the ...