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Bitcoin Mining Now Consuming More Electricity Than 159 Countries Including Ireland & Most Countries In Africa

Bitcoin Mining Now Consuming More Electricity Than 159 Countries Including Ireland

The map above shows which countries consume less electricity than the amount consumed by global bitcoin mining. You can see an update for late 2018 here
Bitcoin’s ongoing meteoric price rise has received the bulk of recent press attention with a lot of discussion around whether or not it’s a bubble waiting to burst.

However, most the coverage has missed out one of the more interesting and unintended consequences of this price increase. That is the surge in global electricity consumption used to “mine” more Bitcoins.

According to Digiconomist’s Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index, as of Monday November 20th, 2017 Bitcoin’s current estimated annual electricity consumption stands at 29.05TWh.

That’s the equivalent of 0.13% of total global electricity consumption. While that may not sound like a lot, it means Bitcoin mining is now using more electricity than 159 individual countries (as you can see from the map above). More than Ireland or Nigeria.

If Bitcoin miners were a country they’d rank 61st in the world in terms of electricity consumption.

Here are a few other interesting facts about Bitcoin mining and electricity consumption:

  • In the past month alone, Bitcoin mining electricity consumption is estimated to have increased by 29.98%
  • If it keeps increasing at this rate, Bitcoin mining will consume all the world’s electricity by February 2020.
  • Estimated annualised global mining revenues: $7.2 billion USD (£5.4 billion)
  • Estimated global mining costs: $1.5 billion USD (£1.1 billion)
  • Number of Americans who could be powered by bitcoin mining: 2.4 million (more than the population of Houston)
  • Number of Britons who could be powered by bitcoin mining: 6.1 million (more than the population of Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester, Bradford, Liverpool, Bristol, Croydon, Coventry, Leicester & Nottingham combined) Or Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
  • Bitcoin Mining consumes more electricity than 12 US states (Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming)

All maps created using Mapchart.net. For the full breakdown of data, please keep reading.

Bitcoin Mining Electricity Consumption Vs Countries

The map at the top of the page shows, which countries currently consume more or less electricity than that consumed by global Bitcoin mining.

The map below shows how much more or less bitcoin mining energy consumption compares to each countries energy usage with 100% being equal.

E.g. Ireland currently consumes an estimated 25 TWh of electricity per year, so global Bitcoin mining consumption is 116%, or 16% more than they consume. The UK consumes an estimated 309 TWh of electricity per year so global Bitcoin mining consumption is only equivalent to 9.4% of the UK total.

Bitcoin Mining as percentage of each country's electricity usage

Global Bitcoin Mining consumption compared to each country’s electricity consumption
The map below shows which countries in Europe consume more or less electricity than Bitcoin mining:

Bitcoin Mining Electricity Consumption Vs European Countries

Which European countries consume more or less electricity than the amount consumed by global bitcoin mining
As mentioned, above the data for Bitcoin mining energy consumption comes from the Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index. You can read about their assumptions here.

Electricity consumption data mostly comes from the CIA via Wikipedia and is mostly for 2014, since that’s the most recent year available. Unlike some other sources it includes, residential, commercial and industrial use, so may be higher than other figures quoted elsewhere.

Below we have a table showing the data we used for each country:

RankCountryElectricity Consumption in kWh/yearBitcoin Mining Consumption Relative To Country's Use
1 China 5,920,000,000,000.00 0.49%
2 United States 3,913,000,000,000.00 0.74%
3 Russia 1,065,000,000,000.00 2.73%
4 India 1,001,191,000,000.00 2.90%
5 Japan 934,000,000,000.00 3.11%
6 Germany 533,000,000,000.00 5.45%
7 Canada 528,000,000,000.00 5.50%
8 Brazil 518,000,000,000.00 5.61%
9 Korea, South 495,000,000,000.00 5.87%
10 France 431,000,000,000.00 6.74%
11 United Kingdom 309,000,000,000.00 9.40%
12 Italy 291,000,000,000.00 9.98%
13 Saudi Arabia 272,000,000,000.00 10.68%
14 Taiwan 249,500,000,000.00 11.64%
15 Mexico 238,000,000,000.00 12.21%
16 Spain 234,000,000,000.00 12.41%
17 Australia 224,000,000,000.00 12.97%
18 Iran 218,000,000,000.00 13.33%
19 South Africa 212,000,000,000.00 13.70%
20 Turkey 207,000,000,000.00 14.03%
21 Indonesia 195,000,000,000.00 14.90%
22 Thailand 164,000,000,000.00 17.71%
23 Egypt 143,000,000,000.00 20.31%
24 Ukraine 143,000,000,000.00 20.31%
25 Poland 142,000,000,000.00 20.46%
26 Malaysia 131,000,000,000.00 22.18%
27 Sweden 127,000,000,000.00 22.87%
28 Norway 126,400,000,000.00 22.98%
29 Vietnam 125,000,000,000.00 23.24%
30 Argentina 116,000,000,000.00 25.04%
31 Netherlands 108,000,000,000.00 26.90%
32 United Arab Emirates 96,000,000,000.00 30.26%
33 Kazakhstan 91,000,000,000.00 31.92%
34 Philippines 90,797,891,000.00 31.99%
35 Pakistan 82,000,000,000.00 35.43%
36 Finland 81,000,000,000.00 35.86%
37 Belgium 81,000,000,000.00 35.86%
38 Venezuela 78,000,000,000.00 37.24%
39 Austria 69,750,000,000.00 41.65%
40 Chile 66,000,000,000.00 44.02%
41 Czech Republic 60,000,000,000.00 48.42%
42 Colombia 60,000,000,000.00 48.42%
43 Israel 59,830,000,000.00 48.55%
44  Switzerland 58,000,000,000.00 50.09%
45 Kuwait 54,000,000,000.00 53.80%
46 Greece 53,000,000,000.00 54.81%
47 Algeria 49,000,000,000.00 59.29%
48 Romania 48,000,000,000.00 60.52%
49 Uzbekistan 48,000,000,000.00 60.52%
50 Singapore 47,180,000,000.00 61.57%
51 Portugal 46,000,000,000.00 63.15%
52 Bangladesh 46,000,000,000.00 63.15%
53 Hong Kong 42,000,000,000.00 69.17%
54 Iraq 42,000,000,000.00 69.17%
55 New Zealand 40,000,000,000.00 72.63%
56 Peru 39,000,000,000.00 74.49%
57 Qatar 34,000,000,000.00 85.44%
58 Belarus 33,000,000,000.00 88.03%
59 Denmark 32,000,000,000.00 90.78%
60 Bulgaria 31,000,000,000.00 93.71%
61 Morocco 29,000,000,000.00 100.17%
62 Slovakia 28,360,000,000.00 102.43%
63 Serbia 26,910,000,000.00 107.95%
64 Bahrain 25,000,000,000.00 116.20%
65 Ireland 25,000,000,000.00 116.20%
66 Oman 25,000,000,000.00 116.20%
67 Nigeria 24,000,000,000.00 121.04%
68 Hungary 21,550,000,000.00 134.80%
69 Ecuador 21,000,000,000.00 138.33%
70 Azerbaijan 20,000,000,000.00 145.25%
71 Puerto Rico 19,000,000,000.00 152.89%
72 Iceland 17,000,000,000.00 170.88%
73 Syria 17,000,000,000.00 170.88%
74 Croatia 16,970,000,000.00 171.18%
75 Jordan 16,000,000,000.00 181.56%
76 Lebanon 16,000,000,000.00 181.56%
77 Dominican Republic 15,140,000,000.00 191.88%
78 Tunisia 15,000,000,000.00 193.67%
79 Cuba 15,000,000,000.00 193.67%
80 Korea, North 15,000,000,000.00 193.67%
81 Slovenia 13,000,000,000.00 223.46%
82 Turkmenistan 13,000,000,000.00 223.46%
83 Tajikistan 12,000,000,000.00 242.08%
84 Mozambique 12,000,000,000.00 242.08%
85 Kyrgyzstan 11,000,000,000.00 264.09%
86 Sri Lanka 11,000,000,000.00 264.09%
87 Zambia 11,000,000,000.00 264.09%
88 Bosnia and Herzegovina 11,000,000,000.00 264.09%
89 Myanmar 11,000,000,000.00 264.09%
90 Uruguay 10,000,000,000.00 290.50%
91 Lithuania 9,900,000,000.00 293.43%
92 Sudan 9,900,000,000.00 293.43%
93 Georgia 9,800,000,000.00 296.43%
94 Paraguay 9,700,000,000.00 299.48%
95 Libya 9,300,000,000.00 312.37%
96 Congo, Democratic Republic of the 9,300,000,000.00 312.37%
97 Costa Rica 9,200,000,000.00 315.76%
98 Ghana 9,200,000,000.00 315.76%
99 Trinidad and Tobago 9,100,000,000.00 319.23%
100 Guatemala 8,915,000,000.00 325.86%
101 Estonia 8,200,000,000.00 354.27%
102 Angola 8,100,000,000.00 358.64%
103 Zimbabwe 8,000,000,000.00 363.13%
104 Panama 7,800,000,000.00 372.44%
105 Albania 7,793,000,000.00 372.77%
106 Kenya 7,600,000,000.00 382.24%
107 Bolivia 7,500,000,000.00 387.33%
108 Macedonia 6,960,000,000.00 417.39%
109 Latvia 6,800,000,000.00 427.21%
110 Ethiopia 6,700,000,000.00 433.58%
111 Luxembourg 6,200,000,000.00 468.55%
112 Cameroon 6,100,000,000.00 476.23%
113 Ivory Coast 5,800,000,000.00 500.86%
114 El Salvador 5,700,000,000.00 509.65%
115 Mongolia 5,600,000,000.00 518.75%
116 Honduras 5,300,000,000.00 548.11%
117 West Bank 5,200,000,000.00 558.65%
118 Yemen 5,200,000,000.00 558.65%
119 Armenia 5,100,000,000.00 569.61%
120 Tanzania 5,000,000,000.00 581.00%
121 Afghanistan 4,700,000,000.00 618.09%
122 Macau 4,500,000,000.00 645.56%
123 Nicaragua 4,412,000,000.00 658.43%
124 Moldova 4,305,000,000.00 674.80%
125 Cambodia 4,100,000,000.00 708.54%
126 Laos 3,900,000,000.00 744.87%
127   Nepal 3,900,000,000.00 744.87%
128 Cyprus 3,900,000,000.00 744.87%
129 Brunei 3,766,000,000.00 771.38%
130 Botswana 3,700,000,000.00 785.14%
131 Namibia 3,700,000,000.00 785.14%
132 Papua New Guinea 3,000,000,000.00 968.33%
133 Senegal 3,000,000,000.00 968.33%
134 Kosovo 2,887,000,000.00 1006.23%
135 Montenegro 2,800,000,000.00 1037.50%
136 Jamaica 2,800,000,000.00 1037.50%
137 Uganda 2,700,000,000.00 1075.93%
138 Mauritius 2,600,000,000.00 1117.31%
139 Gabon 2,100,000,000.00 1383.33%
140 Bhutan 2,085,000,000.00 1393.29%
141 New Caledonia 2,000,000,000.00 1452.50%
142 Malta 2,000,000,000.00 1452.50%
143 Suriname 1,900,000,000.00 1528.95%
144 Malawi 1,900,000,000.00 1528.95%
145 Bahamas 1,600,000,000.00 1815.63%
146 Guam 1,500,000,000.00 1936.67%
147 Swaziland 1,500,000,000.00 1936.67%
148 Mali 1,400,000,000.00 2075.00%
149 Liechtenstein 1,360,000,000.00 2136.03%
150 Madagascar 1,300,000,000.00 2234.62%
151 Burkina Faso 1,200,000,000.00 2420.83%
152 Niger 1,200,000,000.00 2420.83%
153 Togo 1,100,000,000.00 2640.91%
154 Benin 1,000,000,000.00 2905.00%
155 Curacao 968,000,000.00 3001.03%
156 Congo, Republic of the 900,000,000.00 3227.78%
157 Guinea 900,000,000.00 3227.78%
158 Barbados 900,000,000.00 3227.78%
159 Mauritania 800,000,000.00 3631.25%
160 Lesotho 800,000,000.00 3631.25%
161 Guyana 800,000,000.00 3631.25%
162 Fiji 800,000,000.00 3631.25%
163 Aruba 800,000,000.00 3631.25%
164 French Polynesia 700,000,000.00 4150.00%
165 South Sudan 694,100,000.00 4185.28%
166 Jersey 630,100,000.00 4610.38%
167 Bermuda 600,000,000.00 4841.67%
168 Cayman Islands 600,000,000.00 4841.67%
169 U.S. Virgin Islands 600,000,000.00 4841.67%
170 Marshall Islands 600,000,000.00 4841.67%
171 Andorra 562,400,000.00 5165.36%
172 Rwanda 500,000,000.00 5810.00%
173 Burundi 400,000,000.00 7262.50%
174 Belize 400,000,000.00 7262.50%
175 Djibouti 400,000,000.00 7262.50%
176 Haiti 400,000,000.00 7262.50%
177 Seychelles 300,000,000.00 9683.33%
178 Somalia 300,000,000.00 9683.33%
179 Saint Lucia 300,000,000.00 9683.33%
180 Antigua and Barbuda 300,000,000.00 9683.33%
181 Cabo Verde 300,000,000.00 9683.33%
182 Eritrea 300,000,000.00 9683.33%
183 Faroe Islands 300,000,000.00 9683.33%
184 Gambia 300,000,000.00 9683.33%
185 Greenland 300,000,000.00 9683.33%
186 Liberia 300,000,000.00 9683.33%
187 Maldives 300,000,000.00 9683.33%
188 Chad 200,000,000.00 14525.00%
189 Saint Kitts and Nevis 200,000,000.00 14525.00%
190 Central African Republic 200,000,000.00 14525.00%
191 Sierra Leone 200,000,000.00 14525.00%
192 Turks and Caicos Islands 200,000,000.00 14525.00%
193 Gibraltar 200,000,000.00 14525.00%
194 Grenada 200,000,000.00 14525.00%
195 Micronesia, Federated States of 178,600,000.00 16265.40%
196 Timor-Leste 125,300,000.00 23184.36%
197 British Virgin Islands 100,000,000.00 29050.00%
198 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 100,000,000.00 29050.00%
199 American Samoa 100,000,000.00 29050.00%
200 Samoa 100,000,000.00 29050.00%
201 Equatorial Guinea 91,140,000.00 31874.04%
202 Dominica 90,210,000.00 32202.64%
203 Western Sahara 83,700,000.00 34707.29%
204 Solomon Islands 79,050,000.00 36748.89%
205 Sao Tome and Principe 65,100,000.00 44623.66%
206 Vanuatu 55,800,000.00 52060.93%
207 Tonga 46,500,000.00 62473.12%
208 Saint Pierre and Miquelon 41,850,000.00 69414.58%
209 Comoros 40,920,000.00 70992.18%
210 Guinea-Bissau 31,620,000.00 91872.23%
211 Cook Islands 31,620,000.00 91872.23%
212 Kiribati 27,900,000.00 104121.86%
213 Nauru 23,250,000.00 124946.24%
214 Montserrat 21,390,000.00 135811.13%
215 Falkland Islands 13,950,000.00 208243.73%
216 Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha 9,300,000.00 312365.59%
217 Niue 3,720,000.00 780913.98%
218 Gaza Strip 202,000.00 14381188.12%
219 Northern Mariana Islands 48,300.00 60144927.54%

Bitcoin Mining Electricity Consumption Vs US States

While doing the research we also though it might be interesting to compare Bitcoin mining energy consumption to US states. So we created the map below:

Bitcoin Mining Electricity Consumption Vs US States

Overall, 12 States consume less electricity than Bitcoin Mining (Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming).

The data for this section comes from the EIA and is for 2015 and uses total retail sales. Please note this data set uses MWh instead of kWh.

StateTotal retail sales (MWh)Bitcoin Mining Consumption Relative To State's Use
Alabama 88,845,543.00 33%
Alaska 6,159,204.00 472%
Arizona 77,349,416.00 38%
Arkansas 46,465,154.00 63%
California 261,170,437.00 11%
Colorado 54,116,046.00 54%
Connecticut 29,476,155.00 99%
Delaware 11,498,205.00 253%
District of Columbia 11,291,233.00 257%
Florida 235,599,398.00 12%
Georgia 135,878,215.00 21%
Hawaii 9,511,352.00 305%
Idaho 23,058,814.00 126%
Illinois 138,619,970.00 21%
Indiana 104,514,518.00 28%
Iowa 47,147,293.00 62%
Kansas 39,849,127.00 73%
Kentucky 76,038,630.00 38%
Louisiana 91,676,489.00 32%
Maine 11,888,168.00 244%
Maryland 61,781,719.00 47%
Massachusetts 54,621,088.00 53%
Michigan 102,479,921.00 28%
Minnesota 66,579,234.00 44%
Mississippi 48,691,529.00 60%
Missouri 81,504,081.00 36%
Montana 14,206,911.00 204%
Nebraska 29,495,073.00 98%
Nevada 36,019,690.00 81%
New Hampshire 10,999,149.00 264%
New Jersey 75,489,623.00 38%
New Mexico 23,093,553.00 126%
New York 148,913,655.00 20%
North Carolina 133,847,523.00 22%
North Dakota 18,128,948.00 160%
Ohio 149,213,224.00 19%
Oklahoma 61,336,385.00 47%
Oregon 47,263,974.00 61%
Pennsylvania 146,344,028.00 20%
Rhode Island 7,664,718.00 379%
South Carolina 81,328,246.00 36%
South Dakota 12,101,979.00 240%
Tennessee 99,632,108.00 29%
Texas 392,337,354.00 7%
Utah 30,192,350.00 96%
Vermont 5,521,109.00 526%
Virginia 112,009,045.00 26%
Washington 90,116,086.00 32%
West Virginia 32,303,026.00 90%
Wisconsin 68,698,932.00 42%
Wyoming 16,924,762.00 172%

Growth of Bitcoin Mining Electricity Consumption

Growth of Bitcoin Mining Electricity Consumption

While Bitcoin Mining is only currently consuming 0.13% of the world’s electricity output, it’s growing incredibly quickly.

The Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index estimates consumption has increased by 29.98% over the past month. If that growth rate were to continue, and countries did not add any new power generating capacity, Bitcoin mining would:

  • Be greater than UK electricity consumption by October 2018 (309 TWh)
  • Be greater than US electricity consumption by July 2019 (3,913 TWh)
  • Consume all the world’s electricity by February 2020. (21,776 TWh)

The Cost of Mining Bitcoins

The Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index estimates that the total annual cost of mining Bitcoins stands at $1.5 billion (£1.1 billion).

However, that assumes Bitcoin mining is occurring in places with cheap electricity (not an unreasonable assumption).

The US average retail price per kilowatthour is 10.41 cents, which means using 28.05 TWh would cost: $3.02 billion (£2.28 billion).

In the UK it would even more expensive, assuming you paid the rock bottom price of 10.10 pence per kilowatthour (Bulb’s prices for London homes) it would still cost £2.93 billion ($3.89 billion).

Interestingly, Bitcoin’s price increase over the last month has been just over 40%, which is greater than the increase in electricity consumption.

This means the estimated annualised global mining revenues now stand at $7.2 billion USD (£5.4 billion), which even at the more expensive estimates listed above, means it’s still very profitable.

How Does Bitcoin Mining Consume Electricity?

At a very basic level Bitcoin mining requires expensive and power hungry computer hardware. As the the IEEE explains:

Mining power is high and getting higher, thanks to a computational arms race. Recall that the required number of zeros at the beginning of a hash is tweaked biweekly to adjust the difficulty of creating a block—and more zeros means more difficulty.

The Bitcoin algorithm adds these zeros in order to keep the rate at which blocks are added constant, at one new block every 10 minutes. The idea is to compensate for the mining hardware becoming more and more powerful.

When the hashing is harder, it takes more computations to create a block and thus more effort to earn new bitcoins, which are then added to circulation.

To better understand how this whole process works have a look at Investopedia’s guide.

Also see:

Also see:

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Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Can anyone estimate how much carbon is being released into the atmosphere as a result of this electricity usage? I wonder how this would compare to the emissions required to mine an equally valuable amount of a precious metal like gold.

    • 2.5b tonnes of coal are burned each year to sustain just the top 10 (15.338 trillion kwH/year) countries.

    • Yes I have stopped producing it properly as it’s not longer safe and is being farmed for other worlds to allow input era to wipe out most of mankind am the original fist blood provided of self provided nd unlimited sustabeavle energy provider also the directors of the worlds network 02 and EE signed in blood

  2. While I agree with the sentiment of this article it really does a disservice to data scientists everywhere as it really doesn’t portray a clear and full picture at all.

    To do so, you would have to also look at energy consumption of Bitcoin competitors such as banks, credit unions, etc and run a comparison of the two.

    To construct a good argument you need to present both sides of it and then counter the opposing side. A one sided argument is never an efficient argument, it’s just an opinion piece which we really don’t need more of.

    While I appreciate the sentiment and your bringing to light the downside of Bitcoin, please work to present a better argument next time.

    • But we can do that comparison right off the top of our heads. The Bitcoin blockchain does one block about every 10 minutes, or about 6 blocks per hour. Each block contains about 1,500 transactions, or about 7,500 transactions per hour. For simplicity, let’s call it 10,000 transactions per hour. That’s 240,000 transactions per day. Let’s be generous (again) and round up to 300,000 transactions / day, which is a number commonly seen. Let’s also include the complaints in the comment above (e.g. http://blog.zorinaq.com/bitcoin-electricity-consumption/ and http://blog.zorinaq.com/bitcoin-electricity-consumption/) and grant that the real number might only be 20% of the numbers quoted in the original article. Now, how many financial transactions do you execute each day? Counting everything – buying lunch, buying gas, public transit tickets, parking, all your shopping, all your periodic bills, everything? For me it’s maybe 3 – 6 per day. So the entire worldwide Bitcoin system is only doing enough transactions to support a town of maybe 100,000 people. And do that it’s using more electricity than some of the world’s nations, even with the adjustments above. I know this is weird and hard to accept, but it seems to be true. Come on, the whole system can barely support the transaction rate one medium sized town! From this we can conclude that other transaction system must be at least millions of times more energy efficient, or there wouldn’t be enough electricity on Earth to support them.

      • You are right, comrades from NSA or DARPA (pretend to be “Nakamoto”) somewhere in the middle of Bitcoin concept executed flaw

        Question: How many people on The Planet Earth do You know, who forgot to take prize 15 billion dollar? As “Nakamoto” has 1 million Bitcoins in blockchain.

    • Hello.
      So, basically you are saying that if the trend continues, banks and other institutions will also consume 100% of world energy production by 2020 or sooner. If that is true, we are doomed because we now have at least two financial branches which are going to suck all the energy by 2020 (actually much sooner if we add them both together). Hummmm…..

      OK, that aside. Who said that this was a comparative analyses of Bitcoin and its competitors? You make too many assumtions, IMO. The writer simply added this analyses. To have a whole picture you need to start from the dots and lines. Maybe you could go on an do the next bit?

  3. This is just clickbait. Bitcoin mining also maintains a network that currently is worth greater than $135 BILLION dollars. Compare that to the GDP of these same countries on this list: https://merchantmachine.co.uk/countries-gdp-bitcoin/

    It’s uncanny how similar those two maps are. Could it be that the cost for maintaining that $135 billion in value costs more than the electricity used for the entire economy of a country that has nowhere near that kind of GDP?? Also the comparison here is comparing GLOBAL usage against individual countries…. gimme a break. This gives no indication as to the efficiency of the mining nor to the individual economies. It’s just incendiary emotional comparisons.

    I wonder if anyone has costed out what the entire banking industry uses for electricity. All those buildings and suits sitting behind desks with computers isn’t free.

  4. In December, 2013, I first raised the alarm about Bitcoin’s carbon and electricity footprint. You can see the news story here:
    https://www.bizjournals.com/portland/blog/sbo/2013/12/bitcoins-carbon-footprint-a-clear.html

    And my 3,000 word report, here:
    http://seao2.com/bitcarbon/

    At the time, I was derided as the ‘Bitcoin Idiot’. Now, it seems my numbers have been proved up.

    In my report, I state that if Bitcoin gets to $1MM it will be responsible for 30% of the world’s carbon emissions.

    Given that to avoid the worst of climate change, we need to be halving emissions every decade, and doubling renewables every five years, having this Frankenstein technology stalking the planet is very bad news indeed.

    Guy Lane

  5. We can clearly see the trend of power consumption over mining Bitcoin. In the end, this is one of the reasons that Bitcoin has so much value and continue to increase at the speed of light.

  6. Because of these high energy demands there are some alternatives in which the mining process relies on stored data (in your hard drive disk) instead of real-time computations. By doing this, the energy demand is minimal. The only coin already doing this is Burstcoin.

    The concept is known as Proof of Capacity (PoC), while Bitcoin relies on Proof of Work (PoW).

    • I can drive my car 100 miles in any direction (and consume energy) and my odometer reading is “proof of work”. I’m 100 miles from where I was, but what did I actually accomplish?

  7. This is true for the time being perhaps. Bitcoin is a new technology that has some sustainability issues to contend with sure. But, if more people encouraged the solutions rather than only pointed out the problems, we would have quicker evolution to maturity. The solution is solar/wind renewable energy sources! Very simple and yet profound! We need to be able to assist miners into shifting into this solution!! Please spread the word to any of your miner friends. I know a few who are solely running their mining operations on solar/wind. So perfect!!! More innovation please!!

  8. I wonder how much USD is costing the world, if you include things like
    *All the energy and human costs of all the USD bank transactions.
    *All the wars to be waged to simply enforce petrodollar deal in middle east.

  9. I’m totally new to these concepts and find it all quite bizarre–like some kind of sci-fi tale. So the Bitcoin network consists of immense processor farms whose sole purpose is to generate new blocks of transaction data, for which they receive some number of bitcoins as payment. And some people *want* to spend the huge sums of money (with attendant energy usage) to set up mining operations to get those bitcoins because they are worth… intrinsically nothing.

    Every article about Bitcoin equates their “value” to US dollars or some other traditional currency. If the ability to trade bitcoin for other money, or for products or services, collapses all those processor farms are performing worthless calculations. Is this really a self-sustaining economy?

    Meanwhile, the fiendish design of the blockchain concept–requiring all this computational work to maintain the system–and the crazy amounts of energy needed to perform the calculations, makes it sound even more like some kind of creepy sci-fi story! Like an evil character tricks a whole population into ruining their own world by creating factories that do nothing but use energy and generate heat.

    Seriously, I had NO idea this was going on.

    • This is pure gold. Thank you openreels for summarizing the absurdity of bitcoin / block-chain in a simple, elegant manner.

  10. Interesting discussion with valid points in the article and subsequent comments.
    Makes me wonder how much increasing energy is being consumed worldwide (carbon footprint) for gaming and porn.
    Gamers and porn addicts probably blow crypto-mining away in TWh used.

    • No gamer has a dozen machines all hammering away at 100% load while they do nothing with it. Bitcoin mining is essentially a exercise in waste creation. The allocation of some sort of fiscal ‘worth’ to the result only makes it even more grotesque in its greed. Using resources up to produce nothing of value is the exact opposite of progress.

  11. ” In the past month alone, Bitcoin mining electricity consumption is estimated to have increased by 29.98%. ”
    ” If it keeps increasing at this rate, Bitcoin mining will consume all the world’s electricity by February 2020. ”

    Given that the first sentence above is a fact. However, the second sentence is not a fact as it is based on an assumption that is mathematically flawed. Even if bitcoin mining electricity consumption continues to grow exponentially, this does not necessarily translate into a constant 29.98% monthly increase.

    This is due to the fact that as any number trending upwards continues to increase, it takes a much larger constant growth to continue to equal the percentage growth of the previous month. For example, assuming constant growth of 2 per month, if 10 grows to 12 in one month, that equals a 20% growth rate for that month – (2 / 10 = 20%). If 12 grows to 14 the next month, the growth rate declines from 20% to 16.7% – (2 / 12 = 16.7%). And if 14 grows to 16 the next month, the growth rate declines further from 16.7% to 14.3% – (2 / 14 = 14.3%). Furthermore, it 16 grows to 18 the next month, the growth rate declines to 12.5% – (2 / 16 = 12.5%). Finally, if 30 grows to 32 at the end of the 12th month, the growth rate declines to only 6.7% – (2 / 30 = 6.7%). Yet the growth is constant at 2 per month.

    In conclusion, there is plenty of room for Bitcoin mining energy consumption to grow without it reaching a constant 29.98% growth rate per month – which is based on nothing but a hypothetical. The energy consumption could grow exponentially and incredibly over the next few years and still fall short of the 29.98% monthly increase solely due to the inherent mathematical decrease in percentage growth rates over a given period of time.

  12. The ground rules for understanding the “Bitcoin” function need to be set, especially where confusion exists concerning the “Bitcoin mining” function that is described as if it is the same as actually digging a mineral out of the ground. It isn’t!

    Money, in whatever way you seek to describe it, is an abstract notion. That abstract notion does not burn up energy, it is not a material thing and it is of no benefit in sustaining life, except as an exchange or transaction token for other things that are real and may sustain life—you can’t eat money but an apple may save you from hunger!

    It’s all to do with how we use all sorts of ideas to “reify” material things. I find this subject difficult, but I remember when personal computers first arrived, they set out information storage in the analogy of a traditional hierarchic filing system—probably as the most efficient way of introducing computers in a way people could understand However those depictions of folders as icons are not really, ‘real’ folders (and data systems will continue to evolve in how we store and retrieve information, so that the old analogies will, no doubt, be replaced).

    The Bitcoin certainly poses conceptual challenges but these things develop under the pressures social circumstances generate—and the phenomenon as an alternative to the current way we do business seems to have “anarchistic” redolences.

    We are all creatures of exchange, both physically and spiritually and we might consider nascent ideas about commerce:

    “Montesquieu describes commerce as an activity that cannot be confined or controlled by any individual government or monarch. This, in his view, has always been true: “Commerce is sometimes destroyed by conquerors, sometimes cramped by monarchs; it traverses the earth, flies from the places where it is oppressed, and stays where it has liberty to breathe” (SL 21.5). However, the independence of commerce was greatly enhanced when, during the medieval period, Jews responded to persecution and the seizure of their property by inventing letters of exchange. “Commerce, by this method, became capable of eluding violence, and of maintaining everywhere its ground; the richest merchant having none but invisible effects, which he could convey imperceptibly wherever he pleased” (SL 21.20). This set in motion developments which made commerce still more independent of monarchs and their whims.”

    [ Bok, Hilary, “Baron de Montesquieu, Charles-Louis de Secondat”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2014 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = . ]

  13. The internet has also encountered many obstacles.
    All were solved.
    With Bitcoin it will not be any different.
    Do you want a problem to be solved?
    Let it be Bitcoin’s problem.
    If the lack of energy becomes a problem, the Bitcoin network will invest in renewable sources.
    The Bitcoin network will find a way to make power generation more efficient.
    The Bitcoin network will find a way to make electric power free if needed.
    Let Bitcoin solve the problem.
    Then we will adopt the solution.
    Two birds with one stone.

  14. rubbish article that twists statistics and presents a one sided view to serve a narrative! I wonder how much power the internet uses.. Perhaps we should look into turning that off too!

  15. Hallo! Currently I am doing a presentation about bitcoin for school. Is it possible if I use your graphics ( given the allegeable source ) in it?

    thank you!

    linda

    • Yes, no problem happy for anyone to use the images so long as they provide a linked attribution back if it’s published online or credited attribution if used for other purposes. Good luck on your presentation.

  16. Bitcoin mining will consume all the world’s electricity by February 2020. – I find this extremely hard to believe although I’ve enjoyed reading the article some of the facts may be slightly – just slightly 🙂 exaggerated.

    • Bitcoin will destroy all Banks … final goal will be reached … no more energy left for them! Keep mining!

  17. What a ridiculous statement
    ” let it be bitcoins problem”
    Energy is a global problem it has been for years we have been constantly developing products to reduce or use of electricity but still enhance our lifestyle from tvs moved from crt to plasma to led and bit coin goes the opposite waste as much energy as possible to earn coins seems a backward thought and for what an alternative to what we have already .
    Last week i earnt my wages in cash (£) i went away paid hotel ,meals out ,cinema , shopping , a taxi ,drinks at a bar and car parking all with cash / card yes these were all relatively small amounts but i can easily transfer larger amounts . all im trying to say is i cope relitively well without bitcoin and apart from a those who have a invested in it and need it desperately to climb surely most of us can see its not needed …

  18. It would be nice to see a map for the European Union. I see You have listed some individual Eu states as “countries” but not the entire country like you did with the U.S.

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