Noise Pollution of Cryptocurrencies: A Problem that Worries

The noise pollution of cryptocurrencies is a serious problem which is not talked about much.

Bitcoin coins

According to some estimates, the bitcoin network uses the same amount of energy in one year as all of Argentina. However, there is another way that cryptocurrencies can affect the environment: noise pollution. Photo: Pexels

LatinAmerican Post| Juan Manuel Londoño

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Much has been said about the energy requirements of cryptocurrencies. One of the sharpest criticisms of this new technology is its high energy use. According to some estimates, the bitcoin network uses, in one year, the same amount of energy as all of Argentina. However, there is another way that cryptocurrencies can affect the environment: noise pollution.

What is the problem?

The only way to introduce new cryptocurrencies to circulation is by "mining" them. In simple words, to "mine" a coin you need a computer that can solve a complicated mathematical problem. When the problem is solved, the owner of the computer wins some cryptocurrencies. In the past, anyone could solve these problems, even from a simple laptop. However, as competition has increased, these problems have become more difficult to solve. Therefore, a miner needs more computing power and more machines to be the first to solve this problem and see a profit.

This has resulted in massive industrial complexes housing thousands of computers that require constant energy use. These computers not only produce noise while doing their operations, but they also need to cool down, using industrial fans that generate even more noise. The result can be maddening.

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A constant sound

There are already several cases in which the noise of cryptocurrency mines affects the well-being of a community.

For example, Red Dog Technologies, a mine located in Tennessee, USA, this year received a lawsuit from local residents for the excessive noise it generates. Preston Holley, a resident of the nearby town of Limestone, described the noise as “Constant. Inside, outside, you cannot rest ”. The same company vice president, Ed Medford, described the sound that the mine produces as a "hum that is ringing all the time." Several media have described this sound as a real problem that has affected the mental health and quality of life of these inhabitants of a rural area that was completely silent in the past.

And it is estimated that each of the machines used to mine bitcoin is capable of producing up to 80 decibels of noise. This is roughly the same noise a truck makes. Now multiply this noise by thousands of machines, plus the fans needed to cool them down.

Noise pollution can not only cause hearing loss, but also sleep disturbances, stress, heart disease, and many other health problems. This is definitely a cryptocurrency downside that miners will have to fix if they don't want to face their dreaded state regulations.