[O]nly a handful of insiders […] have noticed a threat inherent in the very design of the Bitcoin system: that of ever-increasing environmental damage from the electricity used in the ‘mining’ of Bitcoins.
Bonusuitleg (voor hen die het nog niet wisten) waarom de Bitcoin het sowieso niet gaat worden:
By contrast, all viable currencies are underpinned by the fact that the currency has a use outside its role as a medium of exchange. This is obvious in the case of metallic currencies such as gold and silver coins, and of paper currencies that are convertible into gold. But it is also true of ‘fiat’ currencies, not convertible into precious metals (the case with the US dollar since 1971).
The external value of fiat money is more subtle than that of a metal coin. It is inherent in the fact that the government issuing the currency is willing to accept it in payment of taxes and other obligations. If the US government ceased to exist, people might choose to go on using US dollars as a medium of exchange for a while. Ultimately, however, all currencies without an external source of value must share the fate of the Confederate dollar and similar former currencies, becoming, at best, collectors’ items.
In the end, Bitcoins will attain their true economic value of zero. But as long as Bitcoin, and similar ‘crypto-currencies’ persist, the mining process will continue to damage the environment by wasting energy to no purpose.