US becomes bitcoin mining leader

The US is now the world leader when it comes to bitcoin mining, overtaking China according to data published by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance.

New bitcoin is created when high performance computers compete against other computers to solve mathematical equations, dubbed ‘mining’, which requires significant amounts of energy often derived from fossil fuels.

China’s share of the global ‘hashrate’ dropped to almost zero in July, down from 44 per cent in May, and almost 75 per cent in 2019 according to the statistics.

“Hashrate” is a term for the total combined computational power used to mine bitcoin.

The US proportion of the global ‘hashrate’ increased to 35 per cent in August up from 17 per cent in April, while Kazakhstan’s share grew 10 per cent to 18 per cent.

Russia and Canada now account for 11.2 per cent and 9.6 per cent of the global hashrate respectively.

Bitcoin miners benefit from the cold climates and relatively low energy costs offered by Russia and Kazakhstan.
Texas – one of the most popular US states for miners – offers comparatively low energy costs, much of which is from renewable sources.

The news comes after The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) announced all activities related to non-government digital assets were illegal last month, in a further crackdown on cryptocurrencies.

China’s State Council had previously banned bitcoin mining in May citing environmental and financial concerns.

China aims to implement its own central bank digital currency (CBDC) at the Beijing Winter Olympics in February 2022.

The level of e-waste generated by bitcoin mining as of May 2021 added up to 30,700 tonnes, according to a study produced by Dutch central bank and MIT economists.

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