The world of cryptocurrency has seen a surge in popularity, but with it comes a growing concern – the environmental impact of crypto mining.

Crypto mining, notably Bitcoin (BTC) mining, requires massive amounts of electricity, primarily from fossil fuels. This strains power grids and contributes significantly to carbon emissions and other environmental repercussions.

Real Research, an online survey app, conducted a study to gauge public perception of this issue, specifically focusing on the potential use of renewable energy sources for crypto mining.

Key Findings:

  • Three-quarters know crypto mining is bad for the environment.
  • The majority are down with using solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources for crypto mining.
  • A bunch of crypto investors (67.72%) are actually thinking about how much energy their coins use before they buy them.

The Hidden Costs of Crypto

While carbon emissions are undoubtedly a crucial aspect of the environmental footprint of cryptocurrencies, they are not the only factor to consider. According to new research by United Nations scientists, other environmental impacts, such as water and land footprints, also play a substantial role but have often been overlooked in past studies.

This study, nevertheless, is not new to nearly three-quarters (74.82%) of respondents. Furthermore, a significant majority (69.88%) expressed concern about the impact of crypto mining on climate, water, and land use.

Going Green with Crypto

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Figure 1: The majority of respondents consider the use of renewable energy sources for crypto mining.

A 2021 report highlighted that the water footprint from the largest crypto, Bitcoin, could fill over 660,000 Olympic-sized pools at the time, enough for the domestic water needs of 300 million people in rural sub-Saharan Africa, and the land footprint was 1.4 times the size of Los Angeles. In light of this data, 70% contemplate the adoption of renewable energy sources for crypto mining.

El Salvador’s Geothermal Power

Crypto mining has major environmental impacts, and addressing them requires urgent action through regulatory interventions, technological advancements, and the adoption of greener energy sources.

For instance, El Salvador’s recent adoption of Bitcoin as a legal tender has garnered international attention, particularly for its innovative approach to mining. The country utilizes geothermal energy from volcanic activity to power its mining operations.

El-Salvadors-crypto-mining-model
Figure 2: Respondents’ stance on El Salvador’s crypto mining model.

Based on the survey findings, 61% showed a positive reception for this initiative, supporting El Salvador’s greener cryptocurrency mining industry model. Furthermore, over 70% believe utilizing renewable energy sources for crypto mining can be applied in regions with similar resources.

Renewable Energy Sources for Crypto Mining

While El Salvador’s geothermal approach is promising, the survey also explored preferences for the best alternative energy sources for crypto mining in general. The results revealed solar leading the pack at 30.54%, followed by biomass (19.44%), wind (17.3%), geothermal (16.86%), and hydro (15.86%).

best-alternative-renewable-energy-sources-for-crypto-mining
Figure 3: Which are the best alternative renewable energy sources for crypto mining?

Lastly, the survey reveals a growing focus on sustainability among crypto investors, with 67.72% considering a blockchain’s energy consumption a key factor when making their investment decisions.

Methodology

 
Survey TitleSurvey on Utilizing Alternative Energy Sources for Crypto Mining
DurationMay 27 – June 4, 2024
Number of Participants5,000
DemographicsMales and females, aged 21 to 99
Participating Countries Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, China (Hong Kong) China (Macao), China (Taiwan), Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Greanada, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Maldives, Maluritania, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar [Burma], Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.