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How Green can Bitcoin be?

Bitcoin has hit the headlines a lot recently as its value has skyrocketed, exceeding $60,000 just a few days ago. As of today, 1 bitcoin…

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Bitcoin has hit the headlines a lot recently as its value has skyrocketed, exceeding $60,000 just a few days ago. As of today, 1 bitcoin is worth $54,842.30 (£39,445.60) so it has dropped in recent days but it is still incredibly valuable. Since it was created in 2009 by someone under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, bitcoin has exploded in value and people that invested in the very early days have very quickly become millionaires, or even billionaires.

If you have no idea what bitcoin is don’t worry, its taken a lot of time and research for me to understand and to be honest I’m not totally sure I understand still, but here’s my attempt anyway.

Bitcoin is a decentralised digital currency, or cryptocurrency. It doesn’t require a bank or central institution to operate and it doesn’t physically exist — its all online. Balances of bitcoin are kept on an online ledger that everyone can see making it very transparent; nobody can cheat the system and attacks against owners of the currency are almost impossible. The transparency also means there’s a trail that can be followed should bitcoin be used illegally.

Where it is possible to print an unlimited amount of money with all physical currencies, the same isn’t possible with bitcoin. There can only ever be 21 million bitcoins in circulation — once they have all been mined (we’ll get to that shortly) that’s it. Right now there are just over 18 million in circulation, so less than 3 million left to mine, which along with the popularity of the currency may go some way to explaining the current value of bitcoin.

Transactions of bitcoin rely on something called Blockchain. Blockchain technology is used beyond bitcoin but that’s another blog entirely. All it is is a chain of discrete information in blocks, as the name suggests. The blocks are ordered chronologically in the chain and could realistically contain any kind of information, but in the case of bitcoin it would be transactions.

In order to get bitcoin, it needs to be mined. In order to mine it, you need a computer to solve a series of complex maths problems. Once they’re solved, the miner is rewarded with bitcoin. When bitcoin was first created, a desktop computer would likely have been enough to mine bitcoin as the maths problems that needed to be solved weren’t as complex as those being solved now. To understand just how complex these maths problems have become, if you imagine the difficulty of the first algorithm that was solved to mine bitcoin as 1, the current difficulty of algorithms is 16 trillion!

As more bitcoin is mined, the amount that miners receive decreases and has done so every four years or so (its dependent on the number of blocks in the blockchain. In 2009, those who mined bitcoin would earn 50 bitcoins when they solved a problem. In 2013 that was down to 25, 2018 saw it drop to 12.5 and in May 2020 it dropped to 6.25. This will keep halving until around 2140 (according to the Bitcoin halving countdown) when those who have been mining bitcoin will receive fees based on processing transactions to keep the currency going.

So, without going into detail, hopefully that made sense but sites like Investopedia have much more in depth explanations for those who are interested!

The increased difficulty in maths problems that are required to obtain bitcoins mean that more and more computing power is required. Although there is yet to be an exact value on just how much electricity mining for bitcoin is consuming, its estimated to be more than 121 terawatt-hours annually, which is similar to the amount of electricity consumed by Argentina — a country with a population of around 45 million people.

Very advanced computer systems are needed to mine bitcoin (Source: medium.com)

The production of greenhouse gas emissions that come with generating electricity from fossil fuels are the environmental issue with mining for bitcoin. Miners will often choose to locate in areas where the cost of electricity is cheapest. Unfortunately, with the help of government subsidies, that’s coal in China — more than 65% of all bitcoin mined is in China, massively dwarfing any other country. Only USA (7.24%), Russia (6.90%), Kazakhstan (6.17%), Malaysia (4.33%) and Iran (3.82%) are mining more than a single percent of the global total and all of these countries have one important thing in common, producing and subsidising fossil fuels for electricity.

Of course, some of that electricity may be produced by renewable sources of energy — USA produces just over 11% of its energy from renewables and China is at almost 30, although that does include biomass as renewable. However, the way some of these countries still produce and subsidise fossil fuels on such a large scale are why they’re so attractive to bitcoin mining operations and will continue to be as the electricity demand increases with the complexity.

This isn’t even touching on the amount of e-waste produced by the advanced computer systems that are built specifically to mine bitcoin. As problems become more complex and hardware required to mine bitcoin reaches the end of its life (about a year and a half), new hardware is required and what’s thrown out cannot be repurposed due its singular use. This e-waste is then either incinerated, often producing toxic chemicals and gases, or sent to less developed countries where it ends up in unregulated landfills.

In the same way the electricity usage can be compared to countries, so can the amount of waste produced. Annually, e-waste produced from bitcoin mining is just less than Luxembourg and about half of what Latvia produces. The amount of e-waste produced per transaction is also much higher than credit/debit card transactions. In fact, one bitcoin transaction has a e-waste footprint double that of 10,000 visa transactions!

There’s nothing to say that mining for bitcoin can’t be more environmentally-friendly and be powered on renewable energy, it absolutely can. However, the demand for electricity and the source of this electricity to mine the remaining Bitcoin should rightfully be a cause for concern at a time when we need to be reducing carbon emissions. The amount of non-recyclable e-waste produced by the short lifespans of hardware and the need for more efficient technology are also a major issue that is yet to be addressed too.

If bitcoin is to take-off as many in silicon valley want it to, these issues must be addressed urgently. There are a number of small-scale bitcoin mining operations that are looking at becoming more sustainable in regards to the electricity required and the heat produced which, whilst small-scale, are a good start.

The computer power required to solve these increasingly complex maths problems generates a lot of heat. This is a similar issue for any server room with a lot of computer power, which is why the rooms that house these computers are fitted with cooling systems that will regulate temperature and keep it cool. A Canadian startup has used the heat produced by computers to raise 800 cold-water fish and grow plants like basil and lettuce in a more sustainable way.

In a country like Iceland which, thanks to geothermal and hydroelectric energy sources, is almost completely powered by renewable energy, mining for bitcoin has very little environmental impact. The naturally cold temperatures mean that cooling systems are only required in their full capacity during summer months. The Moonlite Project has constructed a data centre capable of mining for bitcoin that will be run entirely on renewable energy and at a low cost.

These are just two examples of how mining for bitcoin can become ‘green’, but making all bitcoin mining a green process is very, very far from becoming anything more than a dream. The vast majority of bitcoin is mined using electricity powered by fossil fuels and there’s not much sign of that changing without massive change in the countries where the majority of mining is taking place. Until production of fossil fuels drops and the subsidisation of these dirty fuels stops in every country around the world, they will remain the cheapest type of fuel and so continually used by miners. On top of that, the growing amount of e-waste is a much more difficult challenge to solve. Even though the waste produced is rarely considered in the same way that the sources of electricity are, it’s arguably an even bigger challenge to bitcoin’s green credentials, and will only become a greater problem moving forward.

You can argue that with bitcoin existing as a digital currency, you negate the need for physical money. Metals aren’t required for the creation of coins and there’s no need to print paper money — there’s no denial that there are positives of a secure, online way of making monetary transactions in an increasingly online world. However, there are still a lot of downsides, particularly in relation to the environment, raising the question of whether bitcoin will ever be a truly viable.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://medium.com/@thinksustainabilityblog/how-green-can-bitcoin-be-a7b7f6d80786?source=rss——-8—————–cryptocurrency

Blockchain

CLS Group Posts Uptick in March FX Volumes as Markets Remain Active

FX swap demand last month even crossed the record achieved by the company in March 2020.

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CLS Group, a major foreign exchange settlement provider, reported positive growth in trading activities in March across all offered forex instruments. The company posted an average daily traded volume of $1.977 trillion for the month, which is 1.8 percent higher than February’s numbers.

The increase in the demand can be seen across forward, swap, and spot FX markets, where the company is operating. The demand for FX swaps leaped the highest last month with around a 3 percent jump to $1.377 trillion from February’s $1.353 trillion. It was even higher than what the company recorded in March 2020 when the entire financial market saw extreme volatility due to the Coronavirus breakout.

Looking Forward to Meeting You at iFX EXPO Dubai May 2021 – Making It Happen!

The forward and spot FX market also jumped higher by 2 percent each to $0.117 trillion and $0.483, respectively. However, the overall monthly figures remained lower than what the FX settlement provider reported a year ago.

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Following the Industry Trend

“In the first quarter of 2021, we witnessed record average daily traded volumes of USD1.95 trillion, demonstrating a consistent increase of FX market activity year-on-year,” said Keith Tippell, CLS’s global head of product. “This was despite a 10% decrease in overall volumes in the month of March 2021 compared to the record highs in March 2020, driven by the extreme market volatility relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Tippell further elaborated that a significant portion of the FX demand was generated by two currency pairs, USD/JPY and USD/HKD, as both recorded a monthly uptick of 15 percent and 38 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, the company is expanding its industry footprint with more and more partnerships. In the past few months, Capitolis and BGC Group tapped CLS to enhance their FX services.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://www.financemagnates.com/institutional-forex/execution/cls-group-posts-uptick-in-march-fx-volumes-as-markets-remain-active/

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Blockchain

CLS Group Posts Uptick in March FX Volumes as Markets Remain Active

FX swap demand last month even crossed the record achieved by the company in March 2020.

Avatar

Published

on

CLS Group, a major foreign exchange settlement provider, reported positive growth in trading activities in March across all offered forex instruments. The company posted an average daily traded volume of $1.977 trillion for the month, which is 1.8 percent higher than February’s numbers.

The increase in the demand can be seen across forward, swap, and spot FX markets, where the company is operating. The demand for FX swaps leaped the highest last month with around a 3 percent jump to $1.377 trillion from February’s $1.353 trillion. It was even higher than what the company recorded in March 2020 when the entire financial market saw extreme volatility due to the Coronavirus breakout.

Looking Forward to Meeting You at iFX EXPO Dubai May 2021 – Making It Happen!

The forward and spot FX market also jumped higher by 2 percent each to $0.117 trillion and $0.483, respectively. However, the overall monthly figures remained lower than what the FX settlement provider reported a year ago.

Suggested articles

FBS Broker Updates its Trading Platform for Excellent PerformanceGo to article >>

Following the Industry Trend

“In the first quarter of 2021, we witnessed record average daily traded volumes of USD1.95 trillion, demonstrating a consistent increase of FX market activity year-on-year,” said Keith Tippell, CLS’s global head of product. “This was despite a 10% decrease in overall volumes in the month of March 2021 compared to the record highs in March 2020, driven by the extreme market volatility relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Tippell further elaborated that a significant portion of the FX demand was generated by two currency pairs, USD/JPY and USD/HKD, as both recorded a monthly uptick of 15 percent and 38 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, the company is expanding its industry footprint with more and more partnerships. In the past few months, Capitolis and BGC Group tapped CLS to enhance their FX services.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://www.financemagnates.com/institutional-forex/execution/cls-group-posts-uptick-in-march-fx-volumes-as-markets-remain-active/

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Blockchain

Chinese Police Confiscated $3.8 Million in Crypto After Arresting EOS Gambling dApp Team

$3.8 million in bitcoin and EOS seized in China from a team of developers operating a decentralized gambling platform built on the EOS blockchain.

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Chinese police officers have confiscated nearly $4 million in various cryptocurrencies after a raid against several developers that operated a decentralized gambling app built on the EOS blockchain.

$3.8 Million in Crypto Seized

After receiving tips of suspected illegal activity involving the developers of the dApp called Biggame, the Jiangsu police department opened an investigation. Ultimately, this led to the arrest of 15 people.

During the raid, the authorities found and seized 1.3 million units of EOS and BTC. Converted in fiat currencies, this amount equals 26 million yuan or $3.8 million.

According to the report, this is the first criminal case the police solved in connection with illegal online gambling inside China.

The dApp’s structure allowed it to attract players to games such as Dice and Texas Hold’em. The customers placed their bets using EOS smart contracts.


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The Chinese officials reported that in the period between June 2018 and December 2020, the group behind the dApp allegedly gained profits from the operations with crypto assets worth 60 million yuan or about $10 million.

It’s not the first time Chinese police go after fraud related to blockchain-based applications and platforms. As reported last year, the authorities arrested 109 people connected with the cryptocurrency pyramid scheme PlusToken. The well-known Ponzi scheme has defrauded investors of more than $5.7 billion.

”Internet Cleansing Movement”

The biggest economy in Asia – China – appears to be one of the leading countries regarding cryptocurrency mining and distribution but has also had tons of experience with illicit activities coming within its borders.

The arrest in Jiangsu highlights the Chinese law enforcement’s goal to neutralize any illegal online activities – from gambling and telecommunication fraud to money laundering. The mission was referred to as ”Internet cleansing movement.”

Furthermore, the end of last year saw an increasing number of court rulings in this field. According to the officials, nearly 100 individuals have been convicted for laundering money via crypto deals that involved more than $30 million worth of the most widely utilized stablecoin – Tether (USDT).

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Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://cryptopotato.com/chinese-police-confiscated-3-8-million-in-crypto-after-arresting-eos-gambling-dapp-team/

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Blockchain

$10 Billion in Liquidations as the Crypto Market Cap Evaporated $360B in Hours

Record-setting liquidations worth $10 billion in the past 24 hours as the entire crypto market plummeted by double-digit percentages. 

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The enhanced volatility in the past day caused nearly $10 billion in liquidations in less than a day as bitcoin, and all altcoins fell hard. Naturally, over 90% of the liquidated amount came from long positions. 

  • CryptoPotato reported earlier today the adverse price developments in the cryptocurrency market. Bitcoin fell by more than $9,000 in hours, Ethereum lost $400, and so on. With most digital assets plummeting by double-digits, the cumulative market cap lost $360 billion at one point. 
  • As it generally happens, the community speculated for possible reasons. One theory outlined rumors indicating that the US Treasury Department plans to charge numerous financial institutions for laundering money using cryptocurrencies. 
  • While the reason is still debated, the severe price drops caused pain for traders. Data from Bybt shows a whopping amount of $9.98 billion liquidated in the past 24 hours alone. Somewhat expectedly, over $9 billion were from long positions – meaning 91%.  
  • Most of the liquidations took place on Binance, which is somewhat expected as it’s the leading exchange by volume. Following were Huobi and Bybit.
  • More interestingly, the largest single liquidation order happened on Binance and it had a face value of a whopping $68.73 million.
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Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://cryptopotato.com/10-billion-in-liquidations-as-the-crypto-market-cap-evaporated-360b-in-hours/

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