While a surge of interests from forward-looking investors pushed the price of a single bitcoin beyond $57,000 as of Thursday, billionaire Bill Gates has concerns about the process required to produce the digital currency.
The process of bitcoin mining, or generating the digital currency by verifying transactions using powerful computers to solve ultra-complex mathematical equations, consumes a huge amount of electricity. In a recent interview with the New York Times, Gates argued the practice was exacerbating the effects of climate change.
“Bitcoin uses more electricity per transaction than any other method known to mankind,” Bill Gates said in the interview. “It’s not a great climate thing.”
Once considered a fringe concept, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have gained mainstream acceptance in recent years, drawing interest from companies such as Facebook and Tesla. The price of bitcoin has surged more than 600% over the last 12 months, according to CoinBase.
A recent study by Cambridge University found that bitcoin consumes more electricity than the entire country of Argentina. The platform’s carbon footprint is expected to rise as it gains popularity.
Gates, who published a book this year entitled “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster,” suggested he could change his outlook on cryptocurrencies if platforms embrace green energy practices.