The Energy Consumed by a Bitcoin Transaction Equals that of 8 Homes in a Day

//The Energy Consumed by a Bitcoin Transaction Equals that of 8 Homes in a Day

While the prices of cryptocurrency continue to soar, reaching the threshold of 17,000 dollars, Bitcoin is now a real energy drain. This is in any case what reveals a recent study conducted by Digiconomist. Indeed, according to the results of this study, a Bitcoin transaction would consume as much energy as eight American households combined. The value of the virtual currency would push the miners to use machines more and more powerful and increasingly greedy energy to extract the maximum of chips.

According to Digitronics, the current value of bitcoin would push miners to use machines that can consume up to 24 terawatt hours per year. It is the equivalent of the consumption of a country like Nigeria with its 186 million inhabitants over the same period. This equates to an average of 215-kilowatt-hours of energy consumed by miners for each transaction.

The number of transactions per day is estimated at 300,000 currently, so it represents enough energy to feed the average American home for more than a week. The study also points out that the energy consumed by miners worldwide could suffice the electricity needs of 2.26 million US households.

The figures revealed by this study come to raise the question of the actual value provided by Bitcoin in view of the amount of energy required by transactions, but especially the environmental impact. Since 2015, the energy consumption of minors continues to grow and is far superior to that of conventional digital payment methods. This is because the dollar value of bitcoin is directly proportional to the amount of electricity used to exploit it. As the price goes up, the energy consumption follows.

Even if the model used in the study is not accurate, it gives an idea of the problem of extracting Bitcoin if it continues at this rate. Such energy consumption generates a considerable carbon emission. In fact, the study reveals that a single mine is responsible for 13,000 kg of CO2 emissions per bitcoin, i.e. between 24,000 and 40,000 kg of CO2 per hour. This represents the average fuel consumption of a car that has traveled 203,000 kilometers, according to a study of car CO2 emissions in Europe.

In a global context marked by climate change resulting in forest fires, droughts, and floods, it is pertinent to ask the question of the environmental impact of Bitcoin. Some observers believe that the problem will only get worse given the direct relationship between energy consumption and the number of transactions processed.

Even if there are initiatives that try to limit the environmental impact including increasing the number of transactions processed to reduce network congestion, it is still marginal because Bitcoin is several thousand times less effective than a network of cards credit.

By |2017-12-18T14:30:34+00:00December 18th, 2017|Lifestyle|4 Comments


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  2. Oswaldo Antonio December 22, 2017 at 11:24 pm - Reply

    The electricity of Bitcoin is unquestionable. There is more to see a half life in action, and both by the heat it gives off as well as by the noise produced by the fan, it is clear that they are appliances that consume enough electricity. But let’s leave appearances and go to the data. The increase in the difficulty of mining means that every time a lot of equipment becomes obsolete. In addition the own use does that they break, because they are exposed to conditions of extreme heat and not with the best ventilation in many cases. However, it has been proven that 98% of the components of a Bitcoin are recyclable, that is only a matter of recycling being produced, instead of allowing our countries to send this electronic waste to countries in the process of development as Ghana. Therefore, in this sense, it is more a problem of awareness of the countries against recycling than a problem of Bitcoin itself, because of any other electronic device faces the same problem as the Bitcoin mining equipment, in conclusion this is an innovative project that make a revolution in digital technology but we need to consider the political problem before this kind of projects.

  3. Ogeto Omwancha January 4, 2018 at 5:46 pm - Reply

    This is a very interesting and mind boggling article, I never thought the rapid development in digital technology (read of bitcoin) as a danger to the environment, I always felt it to be a smarter more greener way of doing business. Now, after reading through this article, I can relate to what it is saying. It is a sure thing that the continuous block mining cycle incentivizes people all over the world to mine Bitcoin. As mining can provide a solid stream of revenue, people are very willing to run power-hungry machines to get a piece of it. Over the years this has caused the total energy consumption of the Bitcoin network to grow to epic proportions, as the price of the currency reached new highs. Bitcoin’s biggest problem is not even its massive energy consumption, but that the network is mostly fueled by coal-fired power plants in China. Coal-based electricity is available at very low rates in this country. Even with a conservative emission factor, this results in an extreme carbon footprint for each unique Bitcoin transaction. By design, Bitcoin is an energy inefficient and energy-intensive process. In other words, Bitcoin uses a lot of energy and it doesn’t use it particularly well; therefore, as its value increases so does its electrical output.

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