Bloomberg Law
Free Newsletter Sign Up
Login
BROWSE
Bloomberg Law
Welcome
Login
Advanced Search Go
Free Newsletter Sign Up

Coal into Bitcoin? Dirty Secret of 2017’s Hottest Market

Dec. 15, 2017, 2:40 PM

Bitcoin has a dirty secret.

The cryptocurrency has wowed markets this year with breakneck gains as investors flocked to an asset that exists only in cyberspace. But the laborious creation of each digital bitcoin by private computer networks has real-world consequences in the form of massive energy us—including from fuels that cause the most pollution.

Eight 100-meter-long metal warehouses in northern China are a case in point. Bitmain Technologies Ltd. runs a server farm in Erdors, Inner Mongolia, with about 25,000 computers dedicated to solving the encrypted calculations that generate each bitcoin. The entire operation runs on electricity produced with ...