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While cryptocurrency mining is automated, it's also a major energy hog. Research in the journal Joule estimates that Bitcoin mining generates 22.9 metric tons of carbon emissions a year, which is the same amount the entire country of Jordan produces annually.
The concept, as outlined in a March 26 patent application, sounds pretty strange, but it's really just a way to replace the involved computation work that usually verifies Bitcoin transactions, for example.
"Instead of massive computation work required by some conventional cryptocurrency systems, data generated based on the body activity of the user can be a proof-of-work, and therefore, a user can solve the computationally difficult problem unconsciously," the inventors write in the patent application's summary. "Accordingly, certain exemplary embodiments of the present disclosure may reduce computational energy for the mining process as well as make the mining process faster."
Crypto mining is decentralized because no single server handles all of the transactions. Instead, cryptocurrency relies on blockchain technology. We're specifically talking about proof-of-work, which is the consensus algorithm blockchain depends on to confirm transactions.