Cryptocurrency mining consuming as much as a small country?

Posted on Friday, Jul 07 2017 @ 11:59 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
Another day with relatively little news, we're deep into the summer lull and the next exciting hardware product is still three-and-a-half weeks removed from launch. I do have a couple of cryptocurrency mining news posts for those who are interested in that sort of news.

There's a headline over at TechPowerUp claiming that cryptocurrency mining consumes more power than a country with 17 million people. This is a bit sensationalist of course as per capita electricity consumption varies widely, people in developed countries consume a lot more energy than people living in third world countries.

Anyway, the site points to estimates from Digiconomist that try to quantify the cryptocurrency boom. I'm not sure how accurate the calculations are, they could be way off, but Digiconomist claims Bitcoin consumes as much energy as 1.35 million US households. Ethereum consumes as much energy as 0.43 million US households and is estimated to account for 0.02 percent of the world's electricity consumption. For comparison, a much larger traditional pay network like Visa is estimated to use only as much energy as 50,000 US households.

Cryptocurrency electricity use global

Part of the problem here is that what makes cryptocurrencies so attractive is also what makes them so energy-inefficient versus a system with a trusted third party. One of the shocking figures from Digiconomist is how high the per-transaction energy consumption of Ethereum is. At the moment, the electricity consumption behind a single transaction can power 1.64 US households for one day. For Bitcoin it's even worse, a Bitcoin transaction reportedly requires as much energy as what's consumed by 5.46 US households in a single day.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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