The environmental impact of crypto mining is rising regulatory alert, as BTC energy use sees a significant increase year-on-year
The Q3 2022 report by the Bitcoin Mining Council (BMC), which represents 51 of the world’s largest Bitcoin mining companies, revealed a 41% increase in BTC energy consumption YoY despite improved energy efficiency and a more diverse and sustainable energy mix.
According to the report, Bitcoin mining efficiency increased 23% YoY, and sustainable power mix was 59.4%, above 50% for the 6th quarter in a row. Nevertheless, overall BTC energy use increased significantly.
The results suggest regulators may pay additional attention to the crypto industry soon. Although the EU rejected a crypto mining ban proposal earlier this year, more regulations could be implemented to mitigate crypto’s environmental impact.
In an action plan to implement the European Green Deal and the REPowerEU Plan, EU pledges to keep a close eye on crypto mining activities and their environmental effects. It is already encouraging the member states “to implement targeted and proportionate measures to lower the electricity consumption of crypto-asset miners” to neutralize severe cut in the energy supplies from Russia.
Environmentalists add on to the pressure, claiming BTC power consumption is harmful and encouraging the blockchain to transit to the proof-of-stake model.
On the other hand, BMC calls bitcoin mining “negligible” in terms of global energy consumption. Thus, the report estimates Bitcoin mining to consume only 0.16% of global energy production. In addition, it emitted mere 0.10% of the world’s carbon emissions.
The increase in Bitcoin energy consumption may be linked to the network’s hashrate rising 8.34% in Q3 2022 and 73% YoY, despite fewer blocks being produced. Blockchain data analytics firm Glassnode suggested that the hashrate rise is caused by “more efficient mining hardware coming online and/or miners with superior balance sheets having a larger share of the hash power network.”