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18 April 2021

Electricity needed to mine bitcoin is more than used by 'entire countries'

Electricity needed to mine bitcoin is more than used by 'entire countries'


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Electricity needed to mine bitcoin is more than used by 'entire countries'.

Now that over 18.5m bitcoin have been mined, the average computer can no longer mine bitcoins.

The amount of electricity used to mine bitcoin “has historically been more than [electricity used by] entire countries, like Ireland”, said Benjamin Jones, a professor of economics at the University of New Mexico who has researched bitcoin’s environmental impact.

Proponents of bitcoin say that mining is increasingly being done with electricity from renewable sources as that type of energy becomes cheaper, and the energy used is far lower than that of other, more wasteful, uses of power.

Since there is no government body or organization that officially tracks where bitcoin is being mined and what type of electricity miners are using, there is no way of knowing whether miners are using electricity that is fueled by renewable energy or fossil fuels.

A paper from 2018 from the Oak Ridge Institute in Ohio found that one dollar’s worth of bitcoin took 17 megajoules of energy, more than double the amount of energy it took to mine one dollar’s worth of copper, gold and platinum.

Another study from the UK published last year said that computer power required to mine Bitcoin quadrupled in 2019 compared with the year before, and that mining has had an influence in prices in some power and utility markets.

The creators of ethereum, considered the second most popular type of cryptocurrency after bitcoin, have promised to change the currency’s algorithm to make its mining more environmentally friendly.

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