BITCOIN prices may be surging – but experts have claimed the cryptocurrency could lead to the end of the world.
The high-value cyber-currency, which is currently valued at more than £15,000 ($20,000) per unit, has become ever more popular as it ascends from the cash choice of cyber-experts to a tradable asset for the general population.
But experts have warned Bitcoin could “kill the planet” due to the amount of energy required to mine the currency.
Mining is the means of generating bitcoin, and works by using specialist computer software to solve complex equations in return for the currency.
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While the circulation of traditional currency is balanced by governments printing bank notes, Bitcoin relies on the mining strategy to dictate the amount of the cash in existence.
And to ensure the longevity of the cybercash, the mysterious Bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto capped the number of Bitcoins that could be mined at 20,999,999.9769. At the time of publishing, 16,746,025 have been mined through the process, utilising vast amounts of energy.
The overall worldwide energy consumption of bitcoin mining dwarfs some countries – currently estimated in terawatt hours to be at 30.14TW/h annually compared to the Ireland, which consumes 25TW/h a year.
Analyst Alex de Vries said: “The energy-consumption is insane “If we start using this on a global scale, it will kill the planet.”
Accounting firm PwC estimates the use of electricity to mine Bitcoin has increased by 30 per cent over the last month as more people begin to buy into the valuable cryptocurrency.
Christopher Chapman, an analyst for Citigroup, said: “This has become a dirty thing to produce.”. Vast servers are used around the world to mine the currency while there is still time – however, some are attempting to turn to greener means of producing the coins.
In Austria, Hydrominer IT-Services GmbH places their servers inside hydro-power plants in an attempt to use clean energy.
Founder Michael Marcovici, said: “It is bad for bitcoin to have this news all the time about this dirty energy.
“People don’t want dirty energy to be used. “But the problem is, in Europe, the energy is just too expensive.”