Researchers at the University of Cambridge have concluded that annual production of bitcoins requires more electricity than a country like Argentina consumes.
The fact is that the “mining” of a cryptocurrency includes the active work of computers that check all world transactions with it and spend a lot of electricity.
A lot is, according to scientists, 121.36 terawatt-hours per year, and these indicators are unlikely to decrease, unless the cryptocurrency itself collapses.
However, so far, the cost of bitcoin has jumped to $ 48 thousand on the wave of reports that Tesla has invested $ 1.5 billion in cryptocurrency and intends to accept it for payment in the future.
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Moreover, the rise in the cost of bitcoin is pushing “miners” to include more computers in their mining networks, which, in turn, leads to an increase in electricity consumption.
For example, the energy spent on annual cryptocurrency mining would be enough to keep all UK dummies boiling for 27 years.
On the other hand, experts admit that the electricity consumed per year by all devices in America that are not working, but not turned off from the power grid, would be enough for a year of operation of the entire bitcoin network.
Bitcoin mining and new
For cryptocurrency mining, computers, often specialized, are combined into special networks.
Their job is to confirm transactions when people send or receive bitcoins.
This process includes the solution of certain tasks, which in itself is not an integral part of the verification of the movement of the cryptocurrency, but provides some protection against possible fraudulent editing of the global list of such transactions.
As a reward, miners periodically, often on a lottery basis, receive a small bitcoin reward.
To increase profits, people often connect a large number of computers, sometimes entire “factories” to such a network.
Since computers can complete tasks almost non-stop, they consume a lot of electricity.
Experts from the Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance, who developed an online program that calculates the electricity consumption for the production of cryptocurrencies, say that computers mining cryptocurrency around the world operate with different efficiency.
But taking as a basis the average price per kilowatt-hour of electricity and the energy consumption of the network of computers that are engaged in mining, you can calculate how much electricity is spent on the production of bitcoins in a given unit of time.
“Bitcoin is essentially anti-economical,” says David Gerard, author of Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain, “so more economical mining hardware won’t help it, it will have to compete with another equally economical one. And this, in turn, means that the energy costs for the production of bitcoins, and, therefore, the carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere, will only grow indefinitely. …
On Monday, after Tesla announced that it was investing in cryptocurrency, the value of bitcoins jumped again.
At the same time, analysts saw in such investments a contradiction with the previous environmental position of the company.
“Elon Musk in one fell swoop canceled out the good job of promoting clean energy that Tesla was doing, and this is very bad,” says Gerard. “I have no idea how he can play back now.”
“Tesla received $ 1.5 billion in environmental subsidies last year, all at the expense of taxpayers,” the writer continues. it would be worth reconsidering. “
In this regard, Gerard proposes to introduce a carbon tax on cryptocurrency, which would partially counterbalance the damage from electricity consumption.