Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Implausible projections overestimate near-term Bitcoin CO2 emissions

Matters Arising to this article was published on 28 August 2019

The Original Article was published on 29 October 2018

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Prices vary by article type



Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Fig. 1: Comparison of Bitcoin CO2 emissions projected by the Mora et al. model.

Data availability

The authors declare that all data supporting the findings of this study are available in the article, the Supplementary Information and at


  1. Vranken, H. Sustainability of bitcoin and blockchains. Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain. 28, 1–9 (2017).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Krause, M. J. & Tolaymat, T. Quantification of energy and carbon costs for mining cryptocurrencies. Nat. Sustain. 1, 711–718 (2018).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Bevand, M. Op Ed: Bitcoin miners consume a reasonable amount of energy—and it’s all worth it. Bitcoin News (2017).

  4. Koomey, J. G. et al. Sorry, wrong number: the use and misuse of numerical facts in analysis and media reporting of energy issues. Annu. Rev. Energy Environ. 27, 119–158 (2002).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Koomey, J., Chong, H., Loh, W., Nordman, B. & Blazek, M. Network electricity use associated with wireless personal digital assistants. ASCE J. Infrastruct. Syst. 10, 131–137 (2004).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Koomey, J. Turning Numbers into Knowledge: Mastering the Art of Problem Solving (Analytics, 2017).

  7. Mora, C. et al. Bitcoin emissions alone could push global warming above 2 °C. Nat. Clim. Change 8, 931–933 (2018).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Croman, K. et al. in Lecture Notes in Computer Science: Financial Cryptography and Data Security Vol. 9604 (eds Clark, J. et al.) 106–125 (Springer, 2016).

  9. Number of Transactions (, 2019);

  10. Power—Tracking Clean Energy Progress (IEA, 2019);

  11. Energy Technology Perspectives 2017 (IEA, 2017).

  12. World Energy Outlook 2017 (IEA, 2017).

  13. Technology Adoption by Households in the United States (Our World in Data, 2019);

  14. Monaco, A. Edison’s Pearl Street station recognized with milestone. The Institute (27 July 2011);

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



All authors contributed equally to the conception and design of this critique, and to the preparation and review of the manuscript. E.M., A.S., N.L. and H.V. led the analytical components.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Eric Masanet.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Additional information

Publisher’s note: Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Figs. 1–9, Tables 1 and 2 and references.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Masanet, E., Shehabi, A., Lei, N. et al. Implausible projections overestimate near-term Bitcoin CO2 emissions. Nat. Clim. Chang. 9, 653–654 (2019).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing