Over the last months and especially culminating in the last days, it was hard to avoid the bitcoin topic. Climbing to insane heights, bitcoin has passed even the keenest expectations regarding “value” that many of us had. The price has crossed the $15k mark for the first time this week.
Although I do see a bright future for cryptocurrencies, for me the key value lies in the potential it has in enabling us to create a fundamentally new financial system. From a speculators point of view I do believe that what we currently see is mostly based on the greater fool theory (“I will buy Bitcoin because others will hype it even more”).
What struck me even more than the crazy price surge is another topic however. Those of us who know how bitcoin is technically working, how bitcoin mining is actually working, will quickly draw some attention to the energy consumption related this this.
I found some stunning facts that we all should be aware of. It’s insane to be honest. And I am really keen to see how the whole bitcoin ecosystem will react once it hits the wall of energy demand and supply that it is inevitably racing towards.
Here’s some facts:
- At the moment each bitcoin transaction requires the same amount of energy used to power nine homes in the U.S. for one day.
- The aggregate computing power of the currently active bitcoin network is nearly 100,000 times larger than the world’s 500 fastest supercomputers combined.
- This relates to an estimated 31 terawatt-hours per year.
- More than 150 individual countries in the world consume less energy annually.
- The Bitcoin network is increasing its energy use every day by about 450 gigawatt-hours, roughly the same amount of electricity the entire country of Haiti uses in a year.
- It is very obvious that if this trend continues at the current growth rate, within a few months the electricity sucked up by the cryptocurrency network will exceed the total current supply.
- By July 2019, the bitcoin network will require more electricity than the entire United States currently uses.
- By February 2020, it will use as much electricity as the entire world does today.
What does this mean for our retirement plans for fossil fuel based power plants?
What does this mean for our clean energy future?
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