In 2020, the Bitcoin ecosystem consumed around 67 TWh of electrical energy. This year, consumption has already exceeded that. It is estimated that the network will consume 91 TWh by the end of 2021, the same amount consumed in Pakistan, Bloomberg reports. The price of flagship crypto is increasing and power consumption is increased by a higher number of miners using less power efficient equipment and devices.
Excessive carbon emissions are a concern
Environmentalists are alarming that improving the efficiency of crypto-mining is essential. They advise switching to low-carbon power sources for electric power and warn that sustainability efforts can be undermined by carbon emissions from high-intensity bitcoin mining.
Bitcoin miners consume 66 times more electricity than in 2015
The software used to mine Bitcoin takes network users around 10 minutes to process a block using a complex algorithm. This process consumes a lot of electricity because miners use massive and powerful systems to verify transactions and mine blocks. It is exactly during the mining process that most of Bitcoin’s energy consumption occurs. In 2021, Bitcoin miners consume 66 times more electricity than six years ago. Regulators will begin to pay close attention to the associated carbon emissions according to a Report from Citigroup Inc. quoted by Fortune.
Bitcoin electricity demand hit 143 TWh
In the spring of this year, global electricity demand from the Bitcoin network reached 143 TWh (terawatt hours), just a few percentage points above Argentina’s total electricity production in 2019. Climate Watchers are increasingly concerned about carbon emissions related to cryptocurrencies amid an increase in Bitcoin mining, especially in cases where electricity for such operations is provided by factories and installations using fossil fuels.
Bitcoin mining is becoming increasingly popular and miners may face increasing regulations due to their carbon footprint. The Citigroup report states:
“The operation and use of these ‘coins’ are undoubtedly energy-intensive and could be subject to greater regulatory scrutiny as adoption grows, particularly if the United States continue to expand their crypto footprint.”
The computer networks used by miners to process Bitcoin transactions also require huge amounts of energy to operate. Miners are paid in commission fees or newly mined coins. It is difficult to monitor emission levels because emissions from blockchain operations are not listed separately. This makes controlling industry behavior very difficult.