Critics of Money in physical form such as banknotes and coins. More often cite environmental concerns as one of the reasons why digital A transfer of funds which discharges an obligation on the part of a payer vis-à-vis a payee. More methods are “greener”, but they fail to look beyond false appearances.
In their study “Bitcoin Mining and its Energy Footprint”, Karl J. O’Dwyer and David Malone of the National University of Ireland found that the Bitcoin is commonly said to be a cryptocurrency, a digital means of exchange developed by a set of anonymous authors under the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto, which began operating in 2009 as a community project (Wikipedia type), without the relationship or dependency of any government, state, company or body, and whose value (formed by a complicated system of mathematical algorithms and cryptography) is not supported by any central bank or authority. Bitcoins are essentially accounting entries i... More network’s energy consumption was probably equal to that of all of Ireland, around 3 GW. This was in 2014. What would happen if bitcoin became a more universal See Payment instrument. More? Fabrice Flipo and Michel Berne estimate that the monetary mass in circulation today is equal to 11 trillion dollars. If that were all in bitcoins, it would require over 4,000 GW of energy to power them – or twice the energy consumption of the entire United States.
Processing bitcoins also requires a large financial investment. The processing cost of each bitcoin is $60, even when the environmental conditions are favorable and the data centers’ energy costs are low (as in Iceland).
Cash, on the other hand, might cost the environment when produced, but it also gives back once a banknote’s lifecycle comes to an end. For example, in Ethiopia old notes are used to make bricks for housing. In South Africa, the Rands are printed on recycled The most widely used banknote substrate throughout history, usually made from cotton, of short fibres, which give a banknote special characteristics of touch, sound and firmness. It can include other fibres of different origins. More. In China, the energy recovered from burning banknotes powers the city of Yancheng. In fact, one truckload of Yuans can produce 30,000 kilowatt hours (one household consumes 100 kilowatt hours in one month). In fact, “one ton of banknotes can generate about 660 kWh of electricity, saving roughly 4,000 tons of coal each year” (NCR).
With the growing amount of connected objects and the Internet of Things, it is necessary to review the hidden yet very present environmental costs of digital payments. In France today, 15% of the country’s electricity is consumed by electronic devices, but that percentage is expected to skyrocket with our world’s growing connectedness.
To read the Nouvel Observateur’s original article [in French], please click here.