It only takes eight little bitcoin transactions to generate a GeForce RTX 3090’s worth of waste, that’s my key takeaway from a report into the electronic wastage of the cryptocurrency’s basic infrastructure. You could also characterise it as one transaction being the equivalent of chucking away two iPhones, but I haven’t worn a turtle-neck sweater since I was three and tossing a couple of Apple’s finest in the trash feels like too close to a positive to get the point across.
A lot has been written about the ecological impact of cryptocurrencies such as ethereum and bitcoin from a pure power point of view, but not a lot about the impact of the sheer volume of e-waste the whole crypto endeavour creates. And it’s a lot.
On its own the study, bitcoin’s growing e-waste problem (via The Guardian), by economists from Dutch central bank and MIT, estimates that “bitcoin’s e-waste… adds up to 30.7 metric kilotons annually, per May 2021. This number is comparable to the amount of small IT and telecommunication equipment waste produced by a country like the Netherlands.”