Bitcoin consumes an astonishing amount of energy and it’s only getting worse

“It takes a lot of electricity to mine bitcoins, and as more miners try to cash in on the crypto craze, the amount of energy required to win new coins increases accordingly,” George Dvorsky reports for Gizmodo. “New research suggests the entire bitcoin network could consume as much as 7.7 gigawatts of electricity by the end of this year—enough to power a country the size of Austria. But the new analysis is not without its critics, who say there are many other factors to consider.”

“By the end of this year, bitcoin could use half a percent of the world’s electric energy, according to research published today in the science journal Joule,” Dvorsky reports. “What’s more, if bitcoin’s value rises as high as some experts predict, the network could eventually consume upwards of five percent of the world’s electricity.”

“That’s shocking, to say the least, if not completely absurd. If true, it means bitcoin in its current state is grossly inefficient, completely unsustainable, and an environmental menace,” Dvorsky reports. “But as critics of the new study are quick to point out, the new paper is predicated on several shaky assumptions, insufficient evidence, and an eye towards the status quo in terms of how new technologies and regulations might alter the situation.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: And the planet was literally consumed by greed.

SEE ALSO:
Someone stole seven bitcoins from Woz – February 27, 2018
Opera adds Bitcoin-mining blocker to its browser – December 22, 2017
Persistent drive-by cryptomining coming to a browser near you – Jérôme Segura, Malwarebytes, November 29, 2017

22 Comments

    1. I certainly hope so. All geological evidence points out that we’re getting a little late for the next ice age.
      Ice ages are extinction level events, and if mankind is actually capable of effecting climate change, it may just be our greatest achievement ever.

      1. I think that’s a really stupid comment, kent, and says nothing about the idea that some companies might be consuming the planet with their greed. Do you actually LIKE greed or something?

        1. Des, the article/discussion was about greed directly linked to the inefficient use and waste of energy or physical resources.

          How does restricting the production/use of components by maintaining a certain value for them fall under this?

          Rather, that type of consumptive greed is shown by the Samsungs of this world who produce crappy commodity products that get disposed of in six months, instead of usefully used for six years like my iPhone 4S.

          1. Thanks for your thoughtful and well-written response, MacBram. To clarify for you: I was responding to MDN’s more general comment about greed rather than to its specific manifestation as discussed in the article.

            1. It is just another of the many attempts on this forum to insert a personal gripe about a different issue into the discussion.

              – Apple price for adding RAM and storage to Macs
              – Mac Pro
              – Mac mini
              – iOS over Macs
              – Macs being ignored
              – Tim Cook and his “pipeline”
              – Scott Forstall – good riddance or wish he was back
              – Why has Apple failed to separate itself from Samsung as a supplier?
              – Mac design – accessibility/upgradability by users
              – Mac keyboards
              – Mac GPUs
              – etc.

              All reasonable topics for discussion for Apple advocates and critics, but not jammed into the forum of every freaking article that has nothing to do with any of those issues.

            2. I just didn’t think MDN’s comment was “more general”…

              I thought “the planet was literally consumed” tied in nicely with “Bitcoin consumes an astonishing amount of energy”

              You don’t expect something digital to “literally consume” resources or energy, and yet it does.

              You do expect physical manufacturing of physical goods to consume resources and energy. And yet, Apple is about as conscientious and responsible as large manufacturers get: they manage forests; aim for completely running on renewable energy; make quality, lasting products that can be recycled; manage tight channels; etc., etc.

              To many of Apple’s customers, that is worth some extra cost.

  1. Bitcoin mining tools, which primarily consist of large computers, servers, and cooling devices, will use around 840 gigawatt hours of electricity in Iceland this year, it is estimated. The country’s homes, collectively, use about 700 gigawatt hours per year, he said. Iceland’s population is about 340,000.

    Iceland generates its power from cheap renewable sources and it has great environmental cooling, which is why it is attractive to bitcoin miners.

    http://fortune.com/2018/02/13/iceland-bitcoin-mining-electricity/

    1. Just because something is renewable does not mean that we should condone waste. Besides, unlike other forms of renewable energy (wind, hydro, solar) that are powered by the daily solar insolation, geothermal is powered from the primordial thermal energy generated during the formation of our planet. While the Earth’s geothermal supply is almost unimaginably vast relative to the uses of humankind, it is not limitless and is not being renewed each day.

      If you have a moon or planet subject to gravitational flexing (e.g., moons of Jupiter), then they are being heated over time. But I do not believe that applies to the Earth to a significant degree.

      Regardless, wasting anything is stupid, even if it is fully renewable and free or nearly free.

    2. I agree completely. The point of the article I cited was that the residents of Iceland are facing electricity shortages and/or price rises just so that the bitminers can make money exploiting their natural resources.

    1. I had the same thought. What’s the ROI on the equipment needed to mine bitcoins and what is the cost in electricity versus the monetary value obtained.
      Renewable energy sources would be the best approach but you would also need to factor in the cost of the energy generating equipment as well. In California it typically takes 15-20 years to break even on solar panels installation. Worth it in the end. If bitcoin return is higher than the price you get for selling electricity back to the supplier then the break even time could be shorter.

    1. Um, yeah. I can hear the hilarity of all the losers losing. Sad you’re the type to laugh at the misfortune of others, hope n-one ever laughs at your misfortune.

      1. But this is different. It’s generally not good to laugh at others misfortune, but the bitcoin hysteria is entirely built on hype and exaggeration. It won’t end well. Even those “investing” in bitcoin know it’s a house of cards that will eventually crumble and be replaced by some other new faux currency.

  2. Does mining need to occur in order for bitcoin to exist? At some point all coins will be mined. Then what? Does this system crash and burn then or does something else occur to keep the block chain extant?

  3. Electricity is essentially a public utility. Blockchainers are generating and accumulating capital so, in this sense, they a re Capitalists. That Capitalists are using a public utility to accumulate capital means that they are just another version of a corporation that depends on the gov. dole to remain viable. So they are fake Capitalists. Might as well call them Socialists because they could not exist without using public resources. Tell me how far off I am and why.

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