Month: November 2019

University of New Mexico Researchers Point Out Financial Value of Damages Caused by Cryptocurrency Mining

Cryptocurrency proponents and advocates promote the benefits of using digital currency, since its lack of physical existence does not require third party involvement such as traditional banks and government regulators. That being the case, digital currency transactions will not be subject to bank charges and related government taxes.

Cryptocurrency exchanges merely work by way of peer-to-peer communication within a community of digital currency players; using encrypted messages recorded in a ledger known as blockchain. A unit of digital currency is produced every time a cryptocurrency miner solves a block of complex computing algorithms, which serves as a validation of every digital exchange.

Since a unit of digital currency is created as a reward for the miner who solves a block of algorithms, miners compete in order to earn the right to produce a unit of digital currency, ahead of the others. .

Yet University of New Mexico (UNM) researchers (UNM) argue that the mining practices present potential damage to human health, as well as add to the worsening effects of climate change.

According to UNM Economics assistant professors Andrew Goodkind and Benjamin Jones, and Economics professor Robert Berrens, there are financial values attached to the air pollution and adverse human health impact brought about by the electricity consumed in mining for cryptocurrency.

Using their expertise and a host of economic valuation techniques, the three economics professors were able to estimate the financial equivalent of the damages caused by cryptocurrency exchanges.

How Cryptocurrency Mining Causes Environmental Harm

Professor Berrens elaborated on a particular issue in the blockchain process of decoding new blocks of encrypted transactions. He pointed out the supply rules that a miner needs to comply with in order to create and earn new units of digital currency. Such rules include the predominant Proof-of Work (POW) scheme employed in solving encryptions linked to digital transactions.

Completing a POW requires a continuously increasing use of computing power and energy to solve complex algorithms under a winner-take-all scheme, which basically, is also a competition to secure new blocks in the cryptocurrency exchange chain.

Their study revealed that in cryptocurrency-mining, independent production of cryptocurrencies use specialized computer hardware that requires intensive use of electricity. Large-scale crypto-mining operations in so called mining camps therefore, use many of those energy-consuming computer hardware. Mining camps are usually established in any geographic locations across the globe, where energy source is cheapest and where Internet connection is the fastest.

In their research paper published in the “Energy Research & Social Science” journal, titled as “Cryptodamages: Monetary Value Estimates of the Air Pollution and Human Health Impacts of Cryptocurrency Mining,” the UNM researchers stated that the rising electricity required by every crypto coin generated, regardless of whether energy used is green or not, can result in inevitable cliffs of adverse net social benefit. Assistant Professor Goodkind said,

“We looked at greenhouse gas emissions of electricity used in mining, and their effect on climate change, as well as the impacts of local air pollution when carried downward, across local communities.”

The Monetary Values of the Cryptodamages as Assessed by the UNM Economics Researchers

The UNM researchers looked into large amounts of electricity produced by burning fossil fuels. The data gathered shows that at one point in 2018, the equivalent cost of damages that resulted in connection with Bitcoin production, matched the monetary value of the cryptocurrency exchange itself.

Increased pollutants such as fine particulate matter, CO2, nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide produced by burning fossil fuels to generate electricity, likewise heightened exposure to elements that increased risks of premature death.

The UNM researchers approximated that in 2018, every one dollar worth of Bitcoin created yielded an equivalent cost of $49 in climate and human health damages across the United States. The huge amounts of electricity used by cryptocurrency mining camps showed links to the increased CO2 emissions and worsening air quality that affected families in communities across the country, including those in the state of New Mexico.

In publicizing the related costs of health and adverse climate impacts caused by such mining schemes, the UNM researchers hope that operators of cryptocurrency camps will seek alternative low-energy methods of mining.

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Saving the Environment from Plastic Waste

One thing that may leave you in awe about plastic is that, they can’t be eliminated. However, it will demand clever engineering as well as applied science coupled with the technology that is in existence. After all, humanity has been dependent on plastic. Unfortunately, it keeps on growing year after year. Well, who would not? Plastic is lightweight, extremely durable, flexible and above everything else, inexpensive. Basically, it’s been used for virtually everything.

It’s an Epidemic

In addition to its widespread versatility, plastic waste is causing havoc on our environment. And it’s quite alarming once you knew how damaging it is. The situation is dire already but there are solutions available not just to fix but also, to reverse the worldwide devastation plastic makes.

As of this moment, there are already visible alternatives in replacing plastics while there other recycling methods are applied in reducing plastics. Science and technology is geared up in eliminating plastics although, it is something that demands meticulous planning and extensive consideration in an effort to change how plastic is being used and disposed.

When in used, plastic doesn’t pose any threats. Though, the issue only arises from byproducts it creates.

Unfortunately, it’s not Fake News

Whether you believe it or not, humans are accountable for the production of over 300 million tons of plastic annually. And half of which is used just once and then, they’re discarded away. And out of the millions of plastics being produced yearly, just a fraction of it ends up in recycling plant that is then being sold in several stores like Firmagaver.

An obvious way to get rid of plastic is by stopping the patronization of products that feature plastics. Nevertheless, countries similar to Kenya and France are now phasing out plastics that are single-use. They do this by means of banning the utilization of plastic ware, cups and plates. And infractions with these plastic products have heavy fines that could result to jail time as well. Discussions are being made as well in banning single-use plastic products in various parts of Europe.

Full Effort

In fact, European Commission is now aiming to ban single-use plastics as a way of ridding our oceans with plastics. Furthermore, it wants to make manufacturers to bear the cost for waste management as well as cleanup which has been endorsed to EU states. Thus, a new recycling program is expected to take effect by the year 2025.

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