Since the modern economy has gone digital, it has come to require more electricity. Peter Kelly-Detwiler, co-founder of NorthBridge Energy Partners, LLC, a consulting firm that helps companies connect assets to power grids, examined the impact that expanding cryptocurrency is having on energy consumption in a recent Forbes article. He raises the possibility power supply could constrain bitcoin’s growth.
Detwiler noted that while cryptocurrencies are ethereal, they depend on a very real support in electricity. He noted hundreds of megawatts of electricity are used to produce bitcoin, although there are few estimates available on the exact amount.
Miners Are Elusive
One reason the exact amount of electricity used to power bitcoin is uncertain is that the miners that produce bitcoin maintain a low profile. Bitcoin mining centers are big datacenters that are dispersed globally. The datacenters are clustered in places with cheap electricity.
China has the largest number of datacenter mines. The largest share of Chinese mines are close to Tibet in an area with abundant, cheap hydropower. Datacenter mines also exist in Iceland, Malaysia, Venezuela, the Republic of Georgia