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Bitcoin Devours More Electricity Than Many Countries

This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Statista | Infographics. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.

Among other things, Bitcoin has been criticized for price volatility, use in illegal transactions and thefts from exchanges. It has also proven highly controversial for the sheer amount of energy it requires. The University of Cambridge maintains an online tool that estimates the level of electricity the crypto-currency network uses and compares it with other entities. It estimates that Bitcoin uses 143 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricty per year, more than many countries and around 0.65 percent of worldwide electricity consumption. A comparison by Visual Capitalist also shows that is consumes far more power than the world’s largest technology companies.

Norway consumes an estimated 124 TWh while Switzerland consumes 56 TWh annually by comparison. In fact, if Bitcoin was a country, it would be the 27th most-energy-demanding nation on earth. All of that thirst for electricity comes from the computing power needed for mining, which is a process where machines are connected to the network to verify transactions, which involves puzzle-solving. Some Bitcoin miners have even relocated to places like Iceland to reduce costs as geothermal energy is abundant there while cold Arctic air helps with cooling.

This chart shows annual electricity consumption in comparison (in TWh).

estimated annual electricity consumption of Bitcoin

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