The electricity used to mine bitcoin this year is bigger than the annual usage of 159 countries

By in Blockchain News on November 26, 2017
  • The amount of energy used by computers “mining” bitcoin so far this year is greater than the annual usage of almost 160 countries, according to new research.
  • Research by energy tariff comparison service PowerCompare.co.uk shows that the amount of energy expended mining bitcoin globally has already exceeded the amount used on average by Ireland and most African nations.

Oscar Williams-Grut writes (key points selected):

The amount of energy used by computers “mining” bitcoin so far this year is greater than the annual usage of almost 160 countries, according to new research.

Research by energy tariff comparison service PowerCompare.co.uk shows that the amount of energy expended mining bitcoin globally has already exceeded the amount used on average by Ireland and most African nations.

PowerCompare.co.uk used stats from Bitcoin and cryptocurrency data provider Digiconomist, which estimates that 29.05 TWh of electricity was used to mine bitcoin, compared to an estimated 25 TWh of electricity per year used by Ireland.

To ensure transactions are not falsified or records of ownership changed, participants of the bitcoin network must sign off on transactions in “blocks” (hence, blockchain).

To incentivize people to do this work, which involves computers completing complex cryptographic problems, people who verify blocks are rewarded with freshly created bitcoin.

Hence, this process is known as bitcoin “mining.”

As a result, mining (and on the flipside, bitcoin transactions) are sucking up greater and greater amounts of electricity.

Bitcoin transactions now use so much energy that the electricity used for a single trade could power a home for almost a whole month, according to Dutch bank ING.

The bulk of Bitcoin “mining” is done in China, where energy costs are comparatively cheaper than in places like the UK or US.

Read the full article: http://www.businessinsider.com/bitcoin-mining-electricity-usage-2017-11

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