Bitcoin mining leaves footprint on half of the Earth’s surface: Nature magazine

Bitcoin mining leaves footprint on half of the Earth's surface: Nature magazine

Bitcoin mining has had an accelerated growth and distribution in recent months, with a presence in more than 40% of the Earth’s surface, according to the results of a scientific study carried out by researchers from the journal Nature.

According to researchcalled Spatial Analysis of Global Bitcoin Mining, mining activity was detected in more than 6,000 geographical points in 139 countries and regions of the world. In more detail, 44.3% of the surface of our planet already has a Bitcoin mining footprint, as a sign of its growing expansion.

Something that the magazine Nature highlights is that mining does not discriminate in location. In fact, they explain that beyond the points already known, such as China, the United States or Iceland, mining was detected in unexpected places, such as Tahiti, in French Polynesia, or Malawi, in southeast Africa.

Bitcoin mining leaves footprint on half of the Earth's surface: Nature magazine
The green dots represent mining activity throughout planet Earth, according to the journal Nature. Source: Nature.

In addition, and if you look closely at the map attached above, it is possible to see an important mining activity in Latin America, especially in Venezuela and Brazil, where there are several green dots that suggest the detection of equipment SO C of mining walking.

A tendency to concentration

Nature highlights that mining activity, being widely distributed, complies with the precepts of the decentralized nature of blockchains. Nevertheless, point out that there is a “strong tendency towards spatial concentration” of minersparticularly in places where energy is abundant and cheap.

This phenomenon, as they called it, “increases the potential risk of an attack by 51% and makes the entire network more vulnerable due to regulatory changes, disasters, or other restrictions in specific locations.”


Bitcoin mining leaves footprint on half of the Earth's surface: Nature magazine

What Nature says refers to the United States or China, which are the countries where there is more mining presence and where more than 50% of the computing power (hashrate) of Bitcoin is concentrated.

Bitcoin mining leaves footprint on half of the Earth's surface: Nature magazine
Hot and cold spots of Bitcoin mining in the world. Source: Nature.

But a 51% attack is not that easy to execute. For that, more than half of the miners should agree to launch the attack and in the United States, although the majority of the hashrate is present, this is distributed among companies and farms that hardly join forces to damage their source of money.

And if it’s not this way, to launch the 51% attack, it would be necessary to build enough machinery to overcome the current mark, that would cost billions of dollars to make, not counting energy prices, which is also unlikely to be owned by anyone.

A comprehensive framework

Nature maintains that, based on the analysis and study carried out by its researchers, the best way to regulate Bitcoin mining is through the construction of a global framework in the short term, which motivates operators to mine where there is abundant renewable energy and capacity surplus electricity.

These places could be in Latin America, where the activity can be profitable, by having conditions that, in affinity with Nature, could promote the massification of mining.

Bitcoin mining leaves footprint on half of the Earth's surface: Nature magazine
This map indicates potential locations suitable for renewable mining. Source: Nature.

In Venezuela, for example, there are recurrent electrical surpluses, which could be used to improve the national electrical system, as Bitcoin miners suggested earlier this year.

Nature, with its research, does nothing more than recognize the growth of Bitcoin mining, an activity that, although it is in crisis (due to low prices), does not seem to give in and, on the contrary, what it does is keep its constant expansion.

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