You may remember the question some year ago about how much power do devices consume, and how much carbon they do they emit? Well, this obviously depends on the tasks you are performing.
One thousand Google search for instance emits as much as 1 kilometer on a fueled car, but this represents only half of our tech footprint, because the devices we use consume another 34% while the industry that manufactures them takes up the remaining 16%.
Similarly, Crypto-currencies mining already consumes an important amount of electricity and are projected to increase consistently. The Guardian in a recent article on the matter quotes a source:
According to one estimate, bitcoin mining is now consuming more electricity than 159 countries, including Ireland, Bahrain and the Slovak Republic. The same source reckons that it’s currently taking as much electricity as would be required to power 2.7m US households and that it’s responsible for 0.13% of global electricity consumption. If things go on like this, bitcoin mining will require all of Denmark’s electricity consumption by about 2020.
From my point of view, it is quite ironic that I work on a computer all day as a data scientist, addressing environmental concerns and solutions, but also contributing to worsen the problem I am trying to tackle through my research.