The advent of Bitcoin has long infuriated and confused traditional economists. This cryptocurrency reaffirms the principles of investment, at the very time showing that most of our economic systems are built on nothing but speculation. Bitcoin is confusing for this very reason, and ultimately a concept that many of us, even the tech-literate, will understand.
That said, there is plenty we can learn from Bitcoin and its adoption that can help formulate the currencies of the future. Who knows, at some point, we could all be using Bitcoin for our transactions in a few decades. One of the major advantages of Bitcoin is its impact on the environment, as a digital currency. The generation of the currency itself through computer farms is another question entirely, so, for now, we’ll focus on the ways digital currency can help the environment.
Save The Trees!
Did you know our “paper money” isn’t really paper? I’m not just talking about the newer plastic iterations either. Most “paper money” is actually made out of cotton, and may not include any form of wood pulp in its construction.
So will the change to Bitcoin actually save the trees if physical money doesn’t usually include wood? Yes, it will do in the long run. Many forests have been chopped down to make space for the cotton plantations that are used to generate cotton for physical money. The requirement for these plantations would drop dramatically if we were to switch to Bitcoin. In a best case scenario, the plantations are closed, and a new forest is planted on the land. Even if that doesn’t happen, the land could be used for a separate plantation that could have otherwise required further deforestation.
So yes, Bitcoin in a roundabout way does save the trees.
Stomping Out That Carbon Footprint
A tremendous amount of fuel is required to construct and distribute money. Think about it. From shipping the materials for the creation of physical money, to when the trucks full of cash head to the banks, electricity and fossil fuels are being used through the whole process. When you think about this on a national or even global scale, it really adds up. Also, the process of putting more paper money into circulation occurs regularly year on year.
If we were to move to Bitcoin, this carbon footprint would be immediately gone. The whole monetary process would exist online. Would there be a bump in electricity usage to account for more people using online banking methods? Perhaps, but it won’t make a dent on the savings made by stamping out the process of creation and distribution of physical cash. The benefits are immediate and tangible.
Cuts Down On Waste
No process is fully efficient. The creation of physical money leaves plenty of waste, such as chemicals from a dyeing and printing process. If these chemicals can’t be used elsewhere for another product, what happens to them? They can’t just be poured down the drain lest they pollute the water supply. They have to be disposed of until they naturally break down, which could take hundreds of years.
Much like how the carbon footprint is eliminated with Bitcoin, waste byproducts are too. Switching to Bitcoin overnight could easily solve a part of the ecological conundrum of waste storage and disposal. While Bitcoin probably won’t be the currency of the future, it definitely sets several examples of how digital currency can benefit our environment once we make the switch.