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Is the crypto boom contributing to climate change? | TICKER VIEWS

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Bitcoin cryptocurrency and climate change with world on fire

Elon Musk recently tweeted that Tesla is going to pull support for Bitcoin over environmental concerns. This sent Bitcoin prices tumbling, and also has raised questions about the sustainability of cryptocurrency.  So, can cryptocurrency ever be sustainable?

Why does Bitcoin mining use so much energy? 

When people speak about the energy cost of cryptocurrencies, they’re usually talking about the impact of mining Bitcoin.

Bitcoin miners use a computer to solve increasingly difficult algorithms which form the blockchain. The trick is to get all miners to agree on the same history of transactions for the blockchain. 

This mining process requires a significant amount of computing power, which in turn requires large amounts of electricity. This can pose an environmental issue when the miners use fossil fuels.

However, the large amounts of energy consumption required to mine Bitcoin is majorly a product of its increasing popularity, rather than being an inherent design element, says Liam Bussell from BANXA. 

“If we could go back to 2013 you could mine with a computer at home and it would be profitable. It would not be today, because this hardware arms race is driven by incentives. The mining machines get more and more powerful.”

Liam Bussell, Head of Communications at BANXA

Is a carbon neutral cryptocurrency possible?

With this in mind Bussell says a carbon neutral cryptocurrency is theoretically possible if the miners use clean energy rather than fossil fuels. 

Better, more energy-efficient blockchain mechanisms also could help this transition. 

Although Bitcoin mining does require large amounts of electricity, it’s ultimately up to the individual miner whether they use renewable energy to power this process. 

How does Bitcoin’s carbon footprint compare to traditional currency? 

On the other hand, it’s important that we keep these discussions in the perspective of our current systems. 

Rory Manchee from Brave New Coin argues that traditional fiat currencies also use considerable amounts of energy to mine and process the materials used in the production of notes and coins. 

So how does Bitcoin stack up? 

Let’s take VISA as an example. Digiconomist reports that Bitcoin uses far more energy than VISA. Also, the energy used by VISA is relatively “greener” than the energy used by the Bitcoin mining network. 

“If we“We could just realise that the current banking system uses vastly more power,  and H&M and Nike get cotton from China and that damages the environment too. If we look at this objectively, with bias, blockchain doesn’t use that much electricity.”

Liam Bussell, Head of CommuLIAM BUSSELL, HEAD OF COMMUNICATIONS AT BANXA

How can cryptocurrencies reduce their energy output?

The reason that Bitcoin mining is so energy-intensive is majorly down to a process called proof-of-work.

However, some experts are already in the process of replacing this with the more energy-efficient proof-of-state. In this model, coin owners create the blocks rather than the miners. This negates the need for the computational heavy-lifting we currently see.

Are all cryptocurrencies equally harmful to the environment? 

Different types of cryptocurrency are mined in different ways. Therefore, some currencies are more energy-reliant than others.

For example, Ethereum mining uses far less energy than Bitcoin mining.

Ethereum also has plans to change its proof-of-work algorithm to an energy efficient proof-of-stake algorithm called Casper. 

Natasha is an Associate Producer at ticker NEWS with a Bachelor of arts from Monash University. She has previously worked at Sky News Australia and Monash University as an Online Content Producer.

Crypto

FBI offers reward for the Bulgarian ‘crypto queen’

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A woman has been dubbed the ‘crypto queen’ after raising billions of dollars in a fraudulent currency scheme

In 2014, Ruja Ignatova launched ‘OneCoin’ which sought to replace Bitcoin as the world’s top digital currency.

The coin was marketed to friends and family in exchange for their own payouts, which added up to over USD $3 billion.

The entrepreneur had previously told investors she had created the “Bitcoin killer”.

“This network was created to become and to fuel the growth of OneCoin,” she told a packed London event in 2016.

But once the scheme was uncovered, reports emerged the woman had disappeared in Greece. That was five years ago, and she has not been seen since.

The 42-year-old has made it onto the FBI’s top 10 most wanted list, with a USD $100,000 reward on offer.

“She timed her scheme perfectly, capitalising on the frenzied speculation of the early days of cryptocurrency.”

Damian Williams, a U.S. prosecutor

The FBI says Ignatova may have travelled to the United Arab Emirates, Bulgaria, Germany, Russia, or other eastern European nations on a German passport.

“[It’s] one of the largest Ponzi schemes in history,” Williams said.

Her own brother was arrested in Los Angeles two years ago, and later pleaded guilty to wire a fraud in a deal with U.S. authorities.

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North Korea bears the brunt of the crypto market crash

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The crypto market crash is impacting North Korea’s weapons programme

The recent crypto market crash has made its way to North Korea, where hackers are bearing the brunt.

The isolated country relies on stolen crypto to fund part of their weapons program.

But as crypto holdings drop by millions of dollars, the nation is reportedly scrambling to find new ways to fund Pyongyang’s missile plans.

KCNA

North Korea has ramped up its stolen crypto assets in recent times leading to one of the largest cryptocurrency heists on record earlier this year.

Hackers allegedly stole $615 million worth of crypto prompting the U.S. tplace a warning about potential workers who are hiding their identities to find jobs abroad.

Meanwhile, crypto holdings have decreased in value with the market sliding below $1 trillion for the first time since January 2021.

Katerina Kostakos contributed to this report

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Russian Police investigate a crypto mining facility

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Russian Police are investigating a crypto mining facility, which is suspected of defrauding clients

It’s understood the miners handed devices to those who were running a mining hotel.

They are also accused of stealing their expensive coin minting hardware, and stopping payments to their customers.

The scam allegedly took place from November to May, where the suspects worked with people who wanted to install their coin minting hardware in a mining hotel.

They were offered electricity prices that were below market value.

Electricity consumed by some of the world’s largest cryptocurrencies has dropped by nearly half.

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