The Environmental Cost of Crypto : Short Wave Cryptocurrencies may exist only in the virtual world, but their impact on our natural resources is huge. That's largely because the technology underpinning crypto is an energy vampire that devours more electricity than do many countries. But that's only part of the story.

Short Wave Host Aaron Scott talks to Producer Eva Tesfaye about the many environmental impacts of crypto - beyond its strain on energy - and what various local, state and national governments are doing about it.

Check out Short Wave's previous episode about how cryptocurrency works and why its technology sucks up so much energy here: n.pr/3ETHXVq

Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

The Environmental Cost of Crypto

The Environmental Cost of Crypto

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Francesco Carta fotografo/Getty Images
Woman&#039;s hand shows her smartphone with Bitcoin
Francesco Carta fotografo/Getty Images

Cryptocurrencies may exist only in the virtual world, but their impact on our natural resources is huge. That's largely because the technology underpinning crypto is an energy vampire that devours more electricity than do many countries. But that's only part of the story.

Short Wave Host Aaron Scott talks to Producer Eva Tesfaye about the many environmental impacts of crypto - beyond its strain on energy - and what various local, state and national governments are doing about it.

Check out Short Wave's previous episode about how cryptocurrency works and why its technology sucks up so much energy here.

Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

This episode was produced by Eva Tesfaye. Stephanie O’Neill was the editor and Katherine Sypher checked the facts. The audio engineer for this episode was Stu Rushfield.