More Electricity Is Used To Mine Bitcoin Than Is Used To Power Some Countries
More electricity is used to mine bitcoin than is used to power some countries, researchers have found.
The value of Bitcoin has soared in the last year or so, reaching a record-high of $50,000 this month. According to a tool developed by researchers at Cambridge University, the currency’s energy use is equivalent to the annual carbon footprint of Argentina.
As per the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, China, where approximately 60% of electricity comes from coal, has the most bitcoin mining of any country.
Bitcoin mining requires special computer equipment that can handle the energy-intensive processing power needed to get bitcoin. These computers use vast amounts of electricity.
The online tool has ranked Bitcoin’s electricity consumption above Argentina, the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates. To put this into perspective, researchers say this energy could power all the kettles used in the UK for 27 years.
On the flip side, it also noted that the amount of energy used by always-on, inactive home devices in the US alone could power the entire Bitcoin network for a whole year.
Bitcoin enthusiasts have argued that mining is increasingly being done with electricity from renewable sources. However, environmentalists argue that mining is a significant cause for concern because miners will go wherever electricity is cheapest. In many cases, this means the use of coal.
Bitcoin surged this month after Tesla announced it had invested $1.5 billion into the cryptocurrency. However, critics said this undermines the electric car company’s previous stance on the environment and climate change.
‘Elon Musk has thrown away a lot of Tesla’s good work promoting energy transition. This is very bad… I don’t know how he can walk this back effectively,’ David Gerard, author of Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain told BBC News.
‘Tesla got $1.5bn in environmental subsidies in 2020, funded by the taxpayer. It turned around and spent $1.5bn on Bitcoin, which is mostly mined with electricity from coal. Their subsidy needs to be examined,’ he said.
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