- Researcher revealed that Bitcoin mining activities may use up about 0.5% of total world’s energy by end of 2018.
- However, the lightning network may help alleviate the environmental impact.
Yesterday 16th May an economic researcher, Alex de Vries, published an article titled “Bitcoin’s Growing Energy Problem” in scientific journal Joule, where he stated that Bitcoin mining would have used up about 0.5% of the total world’s energy by the end of 2018.
Alex declared that Bitcoin mining activities presently accounts for almost 2.55 Gigawatts of electrical power and is moving towards using up 7.67 Gigawatts in the near future. He cited Ireland who currently consumes 3.1 Gigawatts and Austria using up 8.2 Gigawatts. He said that bitcoin miners network “has a big problem, and it is growing fast.” Though, he added that Lightning Network may proffer the solutions that “may alleviate the situation.”
Bitcoin mining involves lots of energy for carrying out complex calculations – hashes – that give miners BTC rewards. Last February, Cryptona.co reported that cryptocurrency mining in Iceland would use up more energy than households in 2018. The issue of whether Bitcoin mining constitutes an environmental hazard is seen by some as being inconsequential, due to the real need for the cryptocurrency in underbanked nations. Notwithstanding, Alex said that “half a percent is already quite shocking:”
“It’s an extreme difference compared to the regular financial system, and this increasing electricity demand is definitely not going to help us reach our climate goals.”
The research further explained the different types of Bitcoin mining machines and their individual energy consumption. Alex noted that attempts “to measure the electricity consumed by the Bitcoin mining machines producing all those hash calculations remain a challenge to date.” Alex, in his research, used the Bitmain’s Antminers as the main example to estimate how much electrical power each machine consumes in its lifetime.
Being the first-time data on Bitcoin energy consumption, Alex hopes his article would “get the conversation started,” as he holds that the world needs “more scientific discussion on where this network is headed” as opposed to “back-of-the-envelope calculations.
On the other hand, blockchain – the technology that backs Bitcoin – has been employed to address environmental issues in some cases. This week, IBM partnered with Veridium Labs to tokenize carbon credit, enabling firms to utilize blockchain in tracking their carbon footprint, possibly enabling the firms to reduce their carbon impact.