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The Relative Sustainability of the Bitcoin Network - by Hass McCook

The Relative Sustainability of the Bitcoin Network - by Hass McCook

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Published by bitscan
There has been a lot of uncertainty surrounding the sustainability of the Bitcoin network, with this fascinating new technology facing several unsubstantiated claims that Bitcoin is unsustainable from a social, economic and environmental point of view. On the contrary Hass McCook's detailed research, providing an order-of-magnitude comparison of Bitcoin's relative sustainability in comparison to the incumbent banking, gold production, fiat money printing and minting industries, conclusively proves that Bitcoin has a minuscule impact on our planet and society when compared with legacy banking, monetary and wealth systems.
There has been a lot of uncertainty surrounding the sustainability of the Bitcoin network, with this fascinating new technology facing several unsubstantiated claims that Bitcoin is unsustainable from a social, economic and environmental point of view. On the contrary Hass McCook's detailed research, providing an order-of-magnitude comparison of Bitcoin's relative sustainability in comparison to the incumbent banking, gold production, fiat money printing and minting industries, conclusively proves that Bitcoin has a minuscule impact on our planet and society when compared with legacy banking, monetary and wealth systems.

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Published by: bitscan on Jun 05, 2014
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06/10/2014

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 An Order-of-Magnitude Estimate of the Relative Sustainability of the Bitcoin Network
A critical assessment of the Bitcoin mining industry, gold production industry, the legacy banking system, and the production of physical currency
 
Hass McCook
BE (Hons I) MEngSc (Distinction) MBA (Oxon)
June 5 2014 @HassMcCook au.linkedin.com/in/hassmccook/ 
1GoKNSc3ddhHnYPL4FNbGBG6kdvG5kbm3f 
 
 
Executive Summary
There has been a lot of uncertainty surrounding the sustainability of the Bitcoin network, with this fascinating nascent technology facing several unsubstantiated claims by uninformed individuals that Bitcoin is highly unsustainable from a social, economic and environmental point of view. This paper aims to disprove or support these claims about the sustainability of the Bitcoin network, and provide an order-of-magnitude comparison of the relative sustainability of Bitcoin when compared with the incumbent banking industry, the gold production industry, and the process of printing and minting of physical currency. Widely available public information strongly refutes claims that Bitcoin is unsustainable, and shows that the social, environmental and economic impacts are a miniscule fraction of the impacts that the legacy wealth and monetary systems have on our society and environment. The results of the research are summarised in the tables below.
Comparison of Annual Economic Costs Gross Yearly Cost Gold Mining
USD$105 billion
Gold Recycling
USD$40 billion
Paper Currency & Minting
USD$28 billion
Banking System Electricity Use
USD$63.8 billion
Bitcoin Mining
USD$0.66 billion
Comparison of Annual Environmental Costs Energy Used (GJ) Tonnes CO
2
Produced Emission Trend Gold Mining
475 million 54 million
Increasing Gold Recycling
25 million 4 million Decreasing
Paper Currency & Minting
39.6 million 6.7 million
Increasing Banking System
2340 million 390 million
Increasing Bitcoin Mining
3.3 million 0.55 million Decreasing
Comparison of Annual Socioeconomic Costs Gold Fiat Currency Bitcoin Worker Deaths
Over 50,000 historically recorded & Over 100 per year 0 0
Corruption
USD$600m USD$1.60 trillion Negligible
Money Laundering
USD$2.65 trillion
Black Markets
USD$1.80 trillion
 
Table of Contents
Introduction ............................................................................................................................................ 1 Scope ................................................................................................................................................... 1 Methodology ....................................................................................................................................... 1 Exclusions ............................................................................................................................................ 1 About the Author ................................................................................................................................ 1 Gold Mining & Recycling ...................................................................................................................... 2 Introduction ........................................................................................................................................ 2 Future Trends ...................................................................................................................................... 3 Mining Lifecycle .................................................................................................................................. 3 Economic Costs of Mining ................................................................................................................... 5 Environmental Costs of Mining ........................................................................................................... 6 Social Costs of Gold Mining ................................................................................................................. 7 Recycling ............................................................................................................................................. 7 Cash Printing & Coin Minting (Physical Currency) .................................................................................. 9 Introduction ........................................................................................................................................ 9 Future Trends ...................................................................................................................................... 9 Physical Currency Lifecycle ............................................................................................................... 10 Currency in Circulation ...................................................................................................................... 11 Economic Costs of Physical Currency ................................................................................................ 14 Environmental Costs of Physical Currency ........................................................................................ 15 Socioeconomic Costs of Physical Currency ....................................................................................... 17 Environmental Impact of the Banking System ...................................................................................... 19 Bank Branches ................................................................................................................................... 19 ATMs ................................................................................................................................................. 21 Summary ........................................................................................................................................... 21 Bitcoin Mining ....................................................................................................................................... 22 Introduction ...................................................................................................................................... 22 Brief History & Trends ....................................................................................................................... 22 Social Costs of Bitcoin Mining ........................................................................................................... 23 Economic & Environmental Impact Assumptions ............................................................................. 23 Environmental Costs of Bitcoin Mining ............................................................................................. 24 Economic Costs of Mining ................................................................................................................. 24 Comparative Summary ......................................................................................................................... 26 Comparison of Economic Costs......................................................................................................... 26 Comparison of Environmental Costs ................................................................................................ 26 Comparison of Socioeconomic Costs ................................................................................................ 26 Conclusion ............................................................................................................................................. 27 Bibliography .......................................................................................................................................... 28
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