“Bitcoin Is Unsustainable,” claims the title of a provocative essay by Motherboard contributor Christopher Malmo that has spurred considerable debate. Malmo’s central thesis is that Bitcoin uses way too much electricity.
The essay opens with a future scenario that, in view of the crisis in Greece, is beginning to appear more plausible – in 2018, Greece is long out of the Eurozone and economic malaise is spreading to neighboring countries. Panicked Europeans sell their euro for bitcoin, which is becoming a stable and respectable currency, causing even more user adoption and recognition by governments.
According to Malmo this scenario, which sounds like heaven to faithful Bitcoin enthusiasts, is more like hell – a burning hell of bitcoin mining circuitry and electricity costs spiraling out of control.
Malmo mentions huge mining operations in China with a catastrophic environmental impact, and notes that the total power consumption of the Bitcoin network is estimated by computer cooling firm Allied Control at 250 megawatts to 500 megawatts.
“That’s around enough zap to power 173,000 average American households’ daily electricity usage,” says Malmo. “With about 110,000 transactions per day, that works out