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All Eyes On Carbon Impact of Crypto Mining As COP26 Wraps

The environmental challenges presented by the recent increase in cryptocurrency mining have taken center stage as world leaders gathered to discuss a host of environmental threats at the United Nations Climate Change Conference.

As the nearly two-week-long COP26 conference went on, several industry players made major announcements regarding their role in the sustainability of cryptocurrency mining and trading.

Cryptocurrency exchange BitMEX announced during the opening days of the conference it has committed to carbon neutrality and is planning to offset all carbon emissions related to Bitcoin transactions taking place on its platform. “We’ve done this by making an initial purchase of 7,110 tonnes of CO2 credits, worth US$100,000, which by our calculations will cover the environmental footprint of not only our Bitcoin transactions but also the servers powering BitMEX for the next year,” according to the platform’s announcement. “This makes us one of the first crypto exchanges to go carbon neutral on our blockchain transactions.”

iminingSimilarly, Canadian blockchain companies iMining Technologies and GuildOne announced just days ago they will be partnering toward their own net-zero initiative reflective of benchmarks set by the Canadian government. According to information provided by Newsfile, the companies are working on a “landmark transaction” that will create verified carbon credits in the form of digital tokens. These credits will be available on the Cardano blockchain.

“Each credit represents a tonne of carbon that has been prevented from being vented into the atmosphere as emissions, acquired from sources including GuildOne’s energy industry partners,” reads the joint release.

Cryptocurrency mining has been criticized by environmental advocates and regulators in recent months for its hefty energy usage. To that end, groups and organizations from around the world have pledged to find ways to mitigate those environmental challenges.

For example, one effort to combat the environmental toll of cryptocurrency mining is the aptly named Crypto Climate Accord. Inspired by provisions in the Paris Climate Agreement, the accord, which is backed by the World Economic Forum, the Alliance for Innovative Regulation, Energy Web and RMI, focuses on bringing together key players in the crypto community to identify ways to decarbonize the industry.

From Twitter

The Spectator Index @spectatorindex Nov 5
"RESEARCH: Bitcoin mining uses up more electricity annually than the entirety of Argentina, according to a study by Cambridge University."

Speaking at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, Kristina Cornèr, the editor-in-chief at Cointelegraph, highlighted some of the ways the cryptocurrency ecosystem could advance environmental initiatives. According to the publications, Cornèr had just finished hosting a Web Summit in Lisbon prior to discussing the relationship between human beings and cryptocurrency mining.

“The key to big historical shifts is not in completely changing or shifting, but in new synergy between people, technology and education,” Cornèr said.

BitMEX added it is also going to invest in an education and research initiative to help identify the true impact Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have on the environment.

“We also want to deepen understanding of the revolutionary potential–and societal value–of crypto, and how it can change people’s lives for the better,” BitMEX notes. “A holistic effort needs to include research into [the] environmental impact, but also fundamental education about the possibilities unlocked by crypto technology.”

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