Jan 19, 2022 - Energy & Environment

House committee cites environmental toll of crypto mining

The U.S. Capitol Building.

Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A new memo from House Energy and Commerce Committee Democratic staff lays out why the panel is exploring cryptocurrency-related energy demand and carbon emissions.

Why it matters: It cites estimates that the 2021 CO2 emissions from digital mining for Bitcoin and Ethereum is "equivalent to the tailpipe emissions from more than 15.5 million gasoline powered cars on the road every year."

  • "Other estimates put these figures much higher," it states.

What's next: That's one piece of the wider memo that lays the foundation for tomorrow's hearing on the topic in the committee's Oversight and Investigations panel titled, "Cleaning Up Cryptocurrency: The Energy Impacts of Blockchains."

Yes, but: Weighing the carbon footprint of cryptocurrency mining is not an exact science.

  • It's also a moving target as efficiency grows, mining locations change and power mixes evolve, among other variables.

Go deeper: Crypto meets the real world

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