by Dr. Mariana Bozesan

On one hand cryptocurrencies have the potential to positively influence grass-roots democracies, individual freedom, and accountability through trustworthy authentication, and decentralized proof of work or proof of stake; on the other hand they cause a ruthless waste of energy in issuing it.

In the research brief entitled “The Carbon Footprint of Bitcoin” [1] published by the MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research, Stoll et al. show that as of November 2018 the energy consumption of Bitcoin per annum was around 48 TWh. The researchers called for regulatory intervention not only because of reasons of monetary control but more importantly because of the unbelievably huge carbon emissions associated with bitcoin mining. They calculated that the resulting carbon emissions per annum range between 21.5 and 53.6 MtCO2, which compares with the annual CO2 emission levels of such cities as Hamburg, Vienna or Las Vegas [2].

This clearly violates our rule to only invest in projects that support our moonshot: implementation of the UN SDGs within Planetary Boundaries.


[1] Stoll C & Klaaßen L, & Gallersdörfer U (2018) The Carbon Footprint of Bitcoin, research brief published by the MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research (CEEPR) retrieved June 21, 2019 http://ceepr.mit.edu/files/papers/2018-018-Brief.pdf
[2] Research news TU Munich: https://www.tum.de/nc/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35499/