Bitcoin mining operations are consuming up to 31 TWh of energy, surpassing Ireland’s 23 TWh and is more than the power used by 159 countries. By 2020, Bitcoin’s operations are supposedly set to use more electricity than the entire world.
Analytics from Digieconomist indicate that Bitcoin’s power consumption ranges within that of countries such as Oman, Morocco, Serbia, and Denmark. Further statistics showed that Bitcoin could help power several nations given its massive energy consumption. For example, Bitcoin can provide 0.8% of energy in the U.S., 5.7% in Germany, 9.8% in the U.K., 24.4% in the Netherlands, and 48.4% in the Czech Republic.
Why Is the Energy Consumption So High?
Bitcoin operates through users known as miners, who are tasked with the generation of new blocks every ten minutes. The miners rely on a set of codes that operate Bitcoin to produce a valid block. To prevent a surge of blocks, Bitcoin relies upon random selection in a distributed network, which often makes mining operations more of a trial and error affair.
The miner that is first to create a valid block receives 12.5 newly created bitcoins and the transaction fees from processed transactions in the new block. Miners who failed to create the valid block will then discard the blocks they had been working on and start on new ones. For this reason, miners are continually working to be the lucky one getting the first valid block, hence the massive power consumption.
Bitcoin’s Growing Carbon Footprint
It takes more than 1.7 billion attempts before a new valid block is created. Given that half of the world’s miners are based in China, which mainly uses coal-fired powered plants, this can be extremely worrying for those concerned with Bitcoin’s carbon footprint. An example of the massive power use is that a single facility in China has over 25,000 computers operating that consume over $40,000 worth of electricity daily…