Mining bitcoin is creating a massive carbon footprint that could escalate unless handled properly. For comparison, the yearly pollution of bitcoin amounts to pollution some countries make in the same period.
The estimates are that 75% of bitcoin mining relies on fossil fuels. The situation used to be better, as many miners relied on renewable hydropower produced in China. However, China banned crypto mining in Q1 2021, causing a 17% rise in fossil fuel usage.
According to experts, this was an unexpected development as many expected mining to become greener after the Chinese ban. Instead, today, a single bitcoin transaction creates pollution equal to the amount of carbon produced by a trans-Atlantic flight.
The United States is still a growing crypto market, with some states providing subsidies to crypto miners. Unfortunately, these subsidies aim to attract new customers for the coal industry, as coal is (alongside natural gas) a main source of power for miners.
Encouraging users in a growing market to turn towards coal as a source could have a devastating effect on the climate. However, bitcoin marketplaces keep insisting that environmental challenges of mining are not an issue and that the crypto-community keeps innovating towards a better world.