Comparing the True Costs of Gold Mining in Africa With Those of Bitcoin Mining – Op-Ed Bitcoin News
Mined by local miners in Africa, gold is extracted in a way that is both environmentally and socially destructive. The toxic discharge from this process has caused great harm to the environment. The same can be said for Bitcoin’s mining process, which is arguably more destructive. Many people are not aware of the costs of mining in Africa. However, many people are also not aware of the costs of Bitcoin mining. The latter is equally destructive, although it is seldom reported on and even less often compared to the devastation of African gold mining. The simple fact is that both processes are extremely destructive and require large amounts of electricity and high tech machinery.
The Bitcoin network is made up of thousands of computers run by individuals all over the world. How is it that these people are able to keep the network running and what does it cost them to do so? To answer this question, we need to have an understanding of how the Blockchain works. The blockchain is a public ledger where all bitcoin transactions are recorded. It is constantly growing as “completed” blocks are added to it with a new set of recordings. The blocks are added to the blockchain in a linear, chronological order. Each node — a computer connected to the bitcoin network for the purpose of verifying transactions — automatically gets a downloaded copy of the blockchain upon joining the network. The blockchain has complete information about the addresses and their
A new study conducted by top researchers at the University of Cambridge Environmental Economics Programme has revealed that the electricity consumption of Bitcoin mining, a process that secures the world’s largest cryptocurrency, is much higher than most people think. The study, which is the first to analyze the hidden cost of Bitcoin mining, reveals that the global Bitcoin mining energy consumption is an estimated 20.4 terawatts per hour (TWh/h).. Read more about is bitcoin safe and let us know what you think.
When billionaire Elon Musk announced that Tesla would no longer accept bitcoin as payment for its electric cars, the price of the crypto currency plummeted. Musk cited the inefficient use of electricity in bitcoin mining and its impact on the environment as justification. Before Musk entered this discussion, many crypto currency opponents had repeatedly attacked bitcoin’s energy-intensive transaction validation process.
Bitcoin mining environment argument
As expected, bitcoin maximalists and crypto currency advocates have spoken out against what they see as an unbalanced argument. For Bitcoiners, claims of environmental impact or energy costs completely ignore the negative externalities associated with the creation/production of alternative stores of value, such as gold and currency. A number of reports not only refute the carbon footprint argument of BTC, but also point to the environmental costs associated with the traditional monetary system. For example, Bitcoin.com News recently reported that another billionaire, Mark Cuban, has told Musk that his organization will continue to accept cryptocurrencies.
Negative external effects of gold mining
Until recently, however, there were few reports focusing exclusively on the negative externalities of gold mining. The precious metal, which has been a traditional alternative store of value for centuries, has seen its position challenged by BTC in recent years. This challenge has inevitably led proponents of gold and ardent opponents of bitcoin, such as Peter Schiff, to start a war against bitcoin. Now a new report, which at least reveals the true cost of gold mining in Africa, could take the initiative away from opponents. The rise of illegal activities in gold-rich markets has undermined the potential of this valuable commodity as a catalyst for the development of these African regional markets. The gold trade is an important and ancient means of livelihood for many African communities and attracts criminals because of its high profitability and low risk (especially compared to the trade in other commodities, both legal and illegal), according to a report by the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime. The report, entitled Illegal Gold Markets in Eastern and Southern Africa, is an exposé of the violence, human trafficking and corruption associated with gold mining in parts of Africa. A report on artisanal gold mining in Kenya, South Africa, South Sudan, Uganda and Zimbabwe shows the real environmental damage caused by this form of mining. For example, the report states that the trade in illegal mercury, a substance classified as dangerous to human health and the environment, is in fact linked to the illegal gold trade in countries such as Zimbabwe. Moreover, the report, commissioned by the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime (GITOC), accuses some corrupt Zimbabwean officials of allowing mining in protected areas such as Matobo and Umfurudzi national parks.
Trafficking in human beings and corruption
On the other hand, South Africa, a world-renowned producer of sustainable gold, has had to deal with the presence of illegal gold miners, known as Zama Zama, who are now tarnishing that image. The pressure on gold markets during the COvID-19 pandemic revealed the strength and resilience of illicit gold markets, according to the GITOC report of May 2021. According to the report, these illegal minors, often foreigners from poor backgrounds, are exploited by criminal gangs. The report describes in detail how minors are abused: They may also be forced to work underground for weeks at a time, sometimes before resurfacing. These minors are also victims of murder, forced migration, money laundering, corruption, extortion, drugs and prostitution on a scale not found anywhere else in Africa. In South Sudan, Africa’s newest country, gold is mined by tens of thousands of artisanal miners, but they lack proper equipment and safety measures. Reports from the country indicate that up to 4 miners a month are killed in trench collapses. In Kenya, the mining areas bordering South Sudan, Ethiopia and Uganda are in the most dangerous areas of the country and are considered safe havens for organized crime.
Fighting bitcoin opponents
In this 73-page paper, the authors seek to shed light on the true impact and hidden value of gold mining in these five African countries. While these revelations may not be news to many in Africa, for crypto-currency advocates, this paper brings a new context to the bitcoin energy debate. These revelations mean that future comparisons between gold and bitcoin should not ignore the points raised in the GITOC report. For gold miners like Schiff, it would be unfair to criticize bitcoin while completely ignoring the problems with the precious metal. Yet this report also raises an important question: Should bitcoin be judged solely on its use of electricity, or perhaps on how it has played a crucial role in forcing some central banks to reform? If opponents of crypto currency cannot come up with another argument to support what already exists, then it will be difficult to argue against bitcoin without being accused of bias. So, if Elon Musk wants to keep promoting the bitcoin energy mantra, such comments will only have a temporary impact on the crypto economy, as has happened in recent weeks. Real interest in BTC and other digital assets will not disappear just because of the current arguments. Central banks and governments will need to find alternatives to defeat both fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies if attempts to destroy BTC are successful. What do you think about what is happening in the gold mining industry in Africa? Tell us what you think in the comments below.
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bitcoin take, gold mining in Africa, bitcoin energy consumption, bitcoin mining, BTC mining, dirty gold, Elon Musk, gold mining, illegal gold trade, Mark Cuban, mining in Africa, money laundering, Peter Schiff Photo credit: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons Denial: This article is for information only. It is not a direct offer or invitation to buy or sell, nor is it a recommendation or endorsement of any goods, services or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author shall be liable, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services referred to in this article.The cryptocurrency community is filled with speculators, who dream of the great riches to be made from mining bitcoin, ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies. And with the prices of cryptocurrencies rising dramatically over the past year, those dreams are becoming reality for a lucky few. However, these new high prices are also causing the costs of bitcoin mining to skyrocket, which is hurting the profitability of many miners.. Read more about bit coin price and let us know what you think.
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