RENEE CHO | Staff Writer, Columbia Climate School, Columbia University
Bitcoin, with a market cap of U.S.$727 billion, is the largest cryptocurrency in the world. It can be used to buy cars, furnishings, vacations, and much more. In 2011, one bitcoin was worth U.S.$1; at the time of writing this article each bitcoin is worth approximately U.S.$38,000. Because some bitcoin investors have become millionaires overnight, more and more people are intrigued by the possibility of striking it rich through investing in cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. But bitcoin’s rising popularity may make it impossible for the world to stave off the worst impacts of climate change, because the energy consumption of this cryptocurrency is enormous and its environmental implications are far-reaching.