Bitcoin Mining Consumes Excessive Amounts of Energy

In one year, the cryptocurrency production emits as much CO2 into the atmosphere as transatlantic flights! This is a serious threat to the climate.

The use of energy in bitcoin mining is huge – in November last year, the Bitcoin production network consumed more energy than the entire Irish Republic. Since then, energy consumption has only grown. According to Digiconomist forecasts, now slightly more than 42 TWh of electricity per year is used for the production of cryptocurrency, which is almost the same as New Zealand and Hungary spend almost as much as Peru. This is commensurate with CO2 emissions of 20 megatons.

This fact should be accepted by those who hope that the cryptocurrency will grow and spread widely. But even more worrying is that everything can become much worse, and the impact on the climate will become even more tangible.

The very principle of mining is built on the consumption of a huge amount of energy – this is a competition in which the computer makes essentially meaningless arithmetic calculations, spending energy. And the higher the expense (the more calculations) – the higher the chance to close the block and get the coins. One block brings its owner 12.5 BTC – it’s a little less than 100,000 US dollars. At the same time, only one miner receives income, but everyone struggles for it and everyone spends energy. As a result, almost all Bitcoins, paid as a reward for mining, are spent on paying for electricity.

If Bitcoin becomes even more popular, then its price may increase. And if its price increases, then the number of miners will increase. According to CreditSuisse, with Bitcoin price of 50,000 dollars, the energy spent on their production will grow 10 times. And if the price goes up to $1,000,000, then the mining will require all the electricity that is currently produced in the world.

At the same time, analysts believe that the latter assumption is unlikely to ever come true – they do not think that Bitcoin will ever reach such a price, since competition with other cryptocurrencies is too strong.

And yet, mining is only gaining popularity. Computers are becoming more powerful and more energy efficient, and the latest generation of machines can do about 20% more useless computing at the same energy costs. But in essence, this just means that miners can afford to run more machines at the same time, increasing their chances of mining coins and leaving energy consumption at the same level.

So in fact, there is only one reason why energy consumption for Bitcoin mining will fall – if the price of the currency will also fall. Only in this case it will be possible to forget about this problem and return to concern about more traditional factors influencing climate change, such as the automobile industry, transatlantic flights, and Donald Trump.


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