Crypto crash not cutting energy use as China keeps mining BTC

By Raffaele Redi

Energy-intensive crypto mining industry is increasing despite the UST crash

Despite the recent crash in the market, crypto energy consumption has not fallen, according to a data scientist at the Dutch central bank and the founder of Digiconomist, Alex de Vries.

De Vries told The Guardian: “Unless bitcoin collapses further, there’s no reason to expect a decrease in environmental impact.”

As the Guardian reported, his research showed that while increases in cryptocurrency prices stimulate crypto mining activity, energy consumption takes a long time to fall after the decline in value – so the environmental impact of mining persists.

According to Blockchain.com data, the bitcoin (BTC) hash rate – or the network’s aggregate computing power needed to produce coins – has now increased to a level of 223 terahashes per second (Th/s), from the 220 Th/s level seen on 1 May 2022, for example.

China BTC miners still operating despite the ban

Elsewhere, new data on global bitcoin mining released by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) shows a very high level of activity in China, despite the ban on cryptos announced in 2021.

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The Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index (CBECI), known as the mining map, confirmed the growing dominance of the US but also revealed a surprising resurgence in mining activities by Chinese operators, accounting for roughly 21% of the BTC global hash rate capacity in January 2022.

“This strongly suggests that significant underground mining activity has formed in the country. Access to off-grid electricity and geographically scattered, small-scale operations are among the major means used by underground miners to hide their operations from authorities and circumvent the ban,” said Cambridge experts.

As for the rest of the world, the US was confirmed to be the largest mining hub globally, hosting roughly 38% of the global BTC hash rate in January 2022, followed by Kazakhstan at 13%, Canada at 6.5% and Russia at 4.7%, with Kazakstan and Russia hit by government crackdowns and geopolitical instability.

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