- The increasingly popular blockchain technology is being used for protection finance purposes, but it has some significant drawbacks, both functional and environmental.
- The process of “mining” popular cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin is very energy intensive, comparable to the annual electricity usage of an entire country.
- Journalist Judith Louis Marnit and author Brett Scott join the Mongabay newscast to discuss these environmental impacts, complexities, and the relationship between the financial system and the ecosystem.
In this episode of the Mongabay newscast, Cloudmoney: War for Cash, Cards, Cryptocurrencies and Walletspresents a brief history of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. He describes the technology’s touted value proposition and the complexities and drawbacks it poses, especially for conservation. Journalist Judith Louis Marnit joins us to discuss her recent reporting on Yale Environment 360. Bitcoin Mining Surge in Texas And how this is driving up energy costs for the average consumer.
Blockchain technology comes in many forms. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens), Smart Contracts, to name a few.they are getting used to fund preservation or to complete a transaction. Blockchain technology can increase transparency by acting as a public ledger, but there are many examples where its use can be impractical or environmentally harmful.
The cryptocurrency itself is decentralized and validated on a virtual ledger, but largely functions like an asset. The speculative nature of it (especially NFTs) raises questions about the feasibility of funding. Many conservation efforts rely on intergovernmental oversight for accountability. If transactions are automated and you eliminate the middleman, who determines the validity of a completed project before making a payment?
Texas currently hosts a quarter of all bitcoin “mining” businesses worldwide, driving up energy costs for consumers. Electricity bills in Texas are 70% higher than last year. Bitcoin mining itself consumes more electricity per year than the countries of Belgium and Venezuela. With the enormous environmental impact of the energy-intensive mining process, does the touted funding potential of cryptocurrencies tie in with the greater environmental downsides that come with it?
All these questions and more will be explored in this episode.
Subscribe to Mongabay newscasts wherever you can get podcasts! Click here for Monga Bay websiteOr download the app and apple When android With your device, you have access to new shows and all previous episodes at your fingertips.
Banner image: Three forms of cryptocurrency. Image by WorldSpectrum Pixabay.