Bitcoin mining requires more electricity than used in all of Finland

If cryptocurrency is the future, are we looking at a world barren of fossil fuels?

With the increase in the popularity of bitcoin, mining has sped up tremendously followed by an alarming increase in the consumption of electricity. In the last five years, the price of Bitcoin has increased by 5 times. What was then worth $500 is now worth $50,000 and it is no wonder everyone is out there competing to get the highest mining done since miners receive a share of the Bitcoin.

What they are forgetting in the process is that mining comes at a price. Where so many computers are being used to solve the critical mathematical problems involved in the process, they are being fueled by electricity. This excess usage of energy contributes largely to global climate change and the degeneration of natural resources.

The New York Times recently published a report that outlines the power used by the crypto mining process. While we do not know for sure the figures invested in terms of electricity, we surely can get a slight idea with the help of this report. The most astonishing fact shared was that Bitcoin mining consumes around 91 terawatt-hours of electricity each year.

What's more is that when compared to Finland with a population of 5.5 million people, it's the same amount of energy used in that country while as for the state of Washington, it's the same ratio. Furthermore, when looking at the electricity consumed in the US cooling system, Bitcoin mining also equates to it. The electricity consumed amounts to 0.5% of the global consumption. This is a huge jump from where it was 5 years ago, detecting a 10x jump. Lastly, what amazes us is the fact that this electricity consumption exceeds what Google uses every year by 7 times.

As the demand for Bitcoin grows, so does the demand for massive resources to conduct the mining. Where a single Bitcoin could be mined back in 2011 with the help of an everyday computer, it requires a huge setup with electricity worth 13 years of domestic consumption to produce a single Bitcoin.

While there are various advantages accompanying this currency of the future, there is a longer list of cons. Iran's recent outage of electricity was also blamed on Bitcoin while half the global warming also might be a result of this extensive mining fiasco. Even Bill Gates, earlier this year, declared that Bitcoin wasn't exactly the most eco-friendly device. As a result many crypto managers are trying to shift their focus on demanding problems like lowering the damage caused by Bitcoin mining.

While these managers are trying to focus more on the E and S instead of just the G of ESG, we're not too sure whether there will be any positive outcome. For now, we can only hope for the best and reduce polythene use.

Photo: lars Hagbarg | AFP | Getty Images

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