Mining consumes about 129.09 TWh per year
In late November of 2017, independent estimates revealed that the energy consumption of the Bitcoin network reached 30.14 terawatt hours per year of electricity, which exceeded the consumption of Ireland, and that was a few weeks before the digital currency reached its previous historical peak near 20 thousand dollars ( numbers).
During the following months, and after the currency’s price rose to a level that remained the highest until last year, and with the increasing demand for dealing with it, other estimates revealed in July 2019 that the electricity consumption of this network rose to 64 terawatt hours per year, which is more than the consumption of Switzerland.
Meanwhile, countries such as Iceland have warned that the massive rise in digital currency mining operations may cause an energy crisis, not to mention the environmental repercussions, a warning that has been echoed from time to time in different countries, east and west.
Fears did not stop at this limit of signals and warnings, as a recent study revealed that the recent record high of Bitcoin, near $ 60,000, increased the amount of energy used to mine the currency, surpassing the carbon footprint of a country the size of Argentina, according to the University of Cambridge.
The university explained that although it is not clear how much energy Bitcoin is actually using, the study estimated its consumption at 129.09 terawatt hours (terawatt hours) annually, double the estimates recorded in 2019, and more than 4 times those recorded in 2017.
This constituted pressure on billionaire Elon Musk, who became the biggest supporter of the digital currency recently, and one of the main reasons for its rise, and this increased environmental impact caused the emergence of a series of prominent critics of the digital currency, including US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
The chief economic adviser to the US President Joe Biden described Bitcoin as “a very ineffective way to conduct transactions.”
While the University of Cambridge Center for Alternative Financing indicates that Bitcoin’s energy consumption is approximately 130 terawatt-hours, it stated that this rate may range anywhere between 40 and 445 terawatt-hours per year, due to the difficulty of estimating the exact consumption.
Inner Mongolia, China, is now planning to ban new cryptocurrency mining projects and shut down existing activity in an effort to reduce energy consumption.
China accounts for about 65 percent of all Bitcoin mining operations globally.