New Delhi: Bitcoin, a form of cryptocurrency can be held accountable for huge amount of carbon dioxide emissions, researchers had said on Thursday. The amount of carbon dioxide emissions from it equals to that of cities like Las Vegas and Hamburg. One of the reasons behind this crisis is that the process of mining this virtual currency soaks up a lot of computing power.

A study by researchers at the Technical University of Munich and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology calculated the amount of power consumed by computers that are used to generate bitcoins and process their transactions. They have examined the carbon footprint that bitcoins leave behind their creation and transactions.

The process of generating, or mining, a bitcoin can involve solving a series of complex mathematical problems, which may take in a lot of computing power.

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While most of bitcoin’s mining and transactions take place in Asian countries like China, computers there heavily depend on electricity from coal. Around 68 percent of computing power is located in Asia.
Some studies state that the use of bitcoins results around 22 to 22.9 megatons in CO2 emissions.To put it into the perspective, the bitcoin’s CO2 footprint closely resembles that of an island country like Sri Lanka. 

The emission can be estimated at around 271 kilograms of CO2 per transaction. The bitcoins’ network also utilizes a lot of energy to protect itself against any fraud. 

There are bigger factors that have major carbon dioxide emissions and a larger share in global warming. However, the bitcoin’s carbon footprint is alarming and regulating the mining of cryptocurrency is necessary.

The social media giant, Facebook had also announced that it will launch its own cryptocurrency later this year.