- 1 Miners require advanced computers to mine blocks of crypto.
- 2 Cooling fans withdraw excess heat to keep the machines up and running.
The sound coming off the fans trying to cool off incessantly operating crypto mining machines isn’t exactly music to the ears. Many argue about their deteriorating impact on the already depleting ozone layer. It’s surprising only a few are talking about the ‘mind-blowing’ footprint it is leaving on our brains.
It’s Noisy Out There
Think of it like a cooling fan that starts running as soon as a gamer prepares for war in Call of Duty: Warzone on Skytech Chronos. Now, imagine this sound coming from hundreds, or maybe thousands of fans. The humming or the drone sound from crypto mining operations has had several citizens in constant turmoil.
A mother from Vilonia County in Arkansas explained how a crypto mining facility’s failure to install sound walls caused her autistic son a meltdown. People suffering from autism are hypersensitive to sensory output. Exposure to such sounds can trigger anxiety or even physical pain.
In DeWitt, another county in Arkansas, a community bulwarked against a crypto mining facility to cease its entry to the region. According to a community member, “We are concerned about environmental issues, the water issue, the conservation with our wildlife, toxic, and the noise pollution.”
Even the birds are annoyed. A resident from Wolfe County, Kentucky, told The Kentucky Lantern about a whining sound coming out of a facility. Her daughter reported a decrease in the local owl population. Around 400 bird species dwell in the State. Fall is looming, trees are abscising. Locals are afraid that the sound will only worsen during the season.
Although there is no confirmation regarding the company’s ties with cryptocurrencies, a job listing hints that they might be mining digital assets. The company’s website also shows data centers operating in other locations. Whatever it is, the continuous drone is stirring disruption in the region’s serene lifestyle.
A single Bitcoin (BTC) mining rig can produce up to 90 decibels (dBs) of sound, sufficient for someone to move to assistive listening devices for hearing assistance. The brain becomes susceptible to speech recognition. Nearly a million crypto miners are operating globally, a large concentration of which comes from the United States.
China once catered to three-fourths of the global hash rate, a metric determining computational power used by Proof-of-Work (PoW) cryptocurrencies. Some speculations conclude the nation is saving its digital yuan from any potential competition. However, the deteriorating impact of crypto mining operations was cited as the primary reason by the country.
Proof-of-Stake Might be an Answer, to Some Extent
Cryptocurrencies using Proof-of-Stake (PoS), another mechanism to mine crypto assets, are deemed less harmful to the environment. It does not require every miner to hold a fleet of high-power-consuming devices. An individual is required to stake a certain amount of digital assets to take part in mining. Fewer machines will then be equivalent to less noise.
Ethereum (ETH), the second largest cryptocurrency, has already transitioned from PoW to PoS in September 2022. Once among the carbon-emitting blockchain, now claims that the move would cut off carbon footprints by almost 99%.
Bryan King, Arkansas Senator from District 28, is actually outspoken about the influx of Chinese crypto miners in the region. Nonetheless, his efforts to take the matter to the governor’s office have been overlooked. He says, “Whether it’s the governor’s office and these legislators up here, why are they protecting Chinese interests out there that are putting assets like this right next to our substations?”
A crypto news website reported that a Democratic member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Greg Vitali, scrapped a bill centered around crypto mining permits. The State’s tax code incentivizing crypto miners to start operations may attract more of them in the future.
Finance is a primary motivator. Soaring crypto prices appeal to miners to mine rigorously. It also affects their choice of fuel. Cheap energy accompanied by an excessive carbon footprint is preferred during a cold market. It’s the other way around with a healthy market.
As crypto miners increase, issues associated with noise pollution, besides climate concerns, are likely to rise. Several studies indicate the detrimental effects it can have on our bodies, mentally and physically. The world is transitioning to electric vehicles with zero carbon and noise. It must not be confused with a reservation for ‘hum-drum.’
Anurag is working as a fundamental writer for The Coin Republic since 2021. He likes to exercise his curious muscles and research deep into a topic. Though he covers various aspects of the crypto industry, he is quite passionate about the Web3, NFTs, Gaming, and Metaverse, and envisions them as the future of the (digital) economy. A reader & writer at heart, he calls himself an “average guitar player” and a fun footballer.