Saw the news that Tesla is now accepting Bitcoin payments for cars, so I looked up some figures and did some math.

According to Tesla's own figures, a Model 3 saves 30 tons of CO2 emissions over its lifetime compared to a traditional car. A Model 3 costs 0.69-1.21 BTC. Mining one BTC results in 257 tons of CO2 emissions.

For the next time someone tells you Elon Musk is saving the planet.

@aparrish @ryanfb it's not quite accurate though, _most_ bitcoins were mined when it was way lower, the block reward halves sometimes.

Also the amount of CO2 per bitcoin is something different than the amount for the transaction.

That said, i am still against bitcoin..

@jasper @aparrish @ryanfb in order for the transaction to go through, a new block needs to be mined though

@ryanfb Geez, my car could drive at least 1.5 million kilometers on 257 tons of CO2 (maybe closer to 3 million)

@ryanfb your math seems off. That CO2 emission is a wild guess at best, but a

Bitcoin is consuming energy like mad. But how much of that is superflous and waste energy? How much is unstorable CO2 neutral energy?

Miners are in a race to the bottom, b ye definition. So they run on cheap energy by def. No energy that can be used elsewhere is as cheap as energy that is superflous.

Again: there's a problem. But not the way you 'math' it.

@ryanfb I totally believe these numbers, but I'd still appreciate citations.


BTC figure from:

Model 3 figure from:

Costs from Tesla's website at their current valuation of $100 = 0.0018376 BTC

tesla, bitcoin 

@cadence @ryanfb
Bitcoin mining is a race to the bottom. This means that the current cost of mining one bitcoin is close to the current price of one bitcoin.
Electricity costs constitute the most of the expenses associated with mining one bitcoin AFAIK. So mining one bitcoin requires roughly one bitcoin worth of electricity.
Which means that the carbon footprint of mining of one bitcoin is close to the carbon footprint of one bitcoin's worth of electricity.

Very roughly, one can say that carbon footprint of mining $X worth of bitcoins is similar to the carbon footprint of burning $X worth of gasoline. And lifetime gasoline consumption of a car is usually only a fraction of a new Tesla's price, so it makes sense that mining one Tesla worth of bitcoins produces several times more CO2 than one Tesla would save over its lifetime.

Now, I hate Musk and bitcoins as much as the next gal, but I don't understand what is the point of looking at the carbon footprint of mining these bitcoins. It's not like one has to mine a brand new bitcoin right before purchasing a car, a brand new bitcoin which won't be used anymore. Most likely, bitcoins used to buy a car were mined a decade ago and their then-negligible mining footprint was amortized over a hundred of other transactions. IMHO it makes more sense to look at the transaction costs, not mining costs.

Of course, that does not negate the _indirect_ effect of that marketing trick, which increased the popularity of bitcoin, its price, and as a consequence its carbon footprint. Bitcoin price increase from $25k to $50k alone could account for 5% of its global projected annual footprint per month, or roughly 5 megatons of CO2 (what 150 thousand teslas would save over their lifetime), every month, even if there was not a single Tesla sale with cryptocurrency.

@ryanfb and that number is only going to go up, because as more people mine, the amount of computing power necessary scales with it.

@ryanfb well, the majority of Teslas is sold for regular currency, so this calculation is moot. Tesla for Bitcoin is a publicity stunt (admittedly stupid), but it doesn't change anything.

Also, Musk saves the planet by dragging the entire industry into accepting EVs, it's not about just Tesla.

What about already mined btc and figure comparison with carbon footprint of scriptural money?

@ryanfb that's not how bitcoin works. they aren't single use and spending a bitcoin doesn't cause one to be mined.

like, i really think we should work on alternatives to bitcoin (my bets are on cooperative banking and energy credit), but spreading bullshit like this is really not helping the case. please learn how bitcoin works before you criticize it.

@ryanfb and of course, state currency is by no means clean either. inflating currency is a major source of income for states, which in turn funds the militaries which are among of the biggest polluters (and the biggest terrorist groups) there are, let alone all the subsidies for dirty industries.

of course you can't really make a direct correspondence with state currency spent to a given amount of pollution. but it's not clear that switching to crypto would mean a net increase in CO2 emissions.

This CO2 emmision from BTC mining is counted using current energy consumption or averaged with f.e BTC mined many years ago , with much less energy ?

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