Cryptanalyst Alex de Vries has calculated based on current prices that the annual energy consumption of miners is likely to be around 24 terawatt hours – which is close to the annual energy consumption of Nigeria, a country with 186 million inhabitants. By comparison, Switzerland consumes around 62 terawatt hours of energy per year.
A rapidly growing environmental problem
Thus, each of the approximately 300,000 bitcoin transactions that are made daily requires around 215 kilowatt hours of electricity. That’s enough juice to feed an entire family home for a week, charge two Tesla batteries, boil 1872 liters of water, or connect a refrigerator to the grid for a year.
Compared to traditional digital payment systems, such as Visa, Bitcoin consumes about 45 times as much energy per transaction. De Vries sees this as a rapidly growing environmental problem. He analyzed the data from a coal-fired Bitcoin mine in Mongolia and came to the conclusion that the computer system emits 8,000 to 13,000 kilograms of CO2 into the atmosphere per Bitcoin harvested – or 24,000 to 40,000 kilograms per hour.
A Twitter user continued de Vries’ calculations, noting that the Mongolian facility emits roughly the same amount of CO2 per hour as a 203,000-kilometer car ride on a European car.
The rising Bitcoin price goes hand in hand with increasing power consumption, which in many parts of the world is still accompanied by a growing CO2 burden. The mistrust-based blockchain technology is inherently inefficient, says Arian Sanusi of Chaos Computer Club Zurich to DerBund.ch/Newsnet on request. Since there is no central accounting in the Blockchain technology, all miners must count on all transactions and all transactions must be carried in all user accounts.
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