Today, there are a lot of debates about the impact that Bitcoin mining has on our environment. Due to the growing mining activity, the level of energy consumption for this purpose is also growing.
Though currently more and more people enter the crypto community buying coins at exchanges as mining requires very powerful and specific hardware, it doesn’t mean that the level of energy consumption is going to be reduced.
As Bitcoin relies on a network of computers that carry out non-stop calculations, each transaction requires a great volume of energy. A new study dedicated to the Bitcoin’s energy requirements estimates a significant increase of energy needed in the nearest future.
Currently, the Bitcoin network uses practically as much electricity as Ireland. As it has been estimated, the Bitcoin network needs at least 2.55 GW of electricity at the moment, while Ireland consumes nearly 3.1 GW.
If the current tendency continues (as it is expected at the moment), the level of the Bitcoin network’s electricity consumption could reach 7.67 GW which is quite comparable with Austria and its 8.2 GW consumed.
“A look at Bitcoin miner production estimates suggests that this figure could already be reached in 2018,” wrote Alex de Vries in the recent report.
In other words, we can say that the Bitcoin network is expected to consume 0.5 per cent of all the world’s electric energy by the end of 2018.
De Vries commented this figure the following way: “Half a per cent is already quite shocking. It’s an extreme difference compared to the regular financial system, and this increasing electricity demand is definitely not going to help us reach our climate goals”.
According to the research, to conduct a single transaction you need to use approximately the same volume of energy that it is needed for an average family in the Netherlands to live a whole month.
Earlier, it has been estimated that if the Bitcoin network’s growth had continued at the rates that were observed at some points during Bitcoin’s rapid rise in December 2017, the total volume of the world’s current energy production would have been required to support the network by 2020.
Though today we can already name different factors that would never let this happen, experts are worried by the fact that someday the Bitcoin’s network would require 5 per cent of the world’s electricity. And it is over 10 times higher than it is required at the current moment.
Due to environmental reasons, it is clear that it is necessary to limit the impact of such high energy consumption. Several US states have already introduced some restriction for crypto mining.
Alex de Vries expressed his hope that his studies would be useful for increasing the awareness level in this sphere and for changing the situation for the better.