Don’t cry for me, Argentina? Environmental campaigners and academics have something to ponder over now, as the latest figures suggest that Bitcoin now consumes more electricity than Argentina.
These startling figures come from the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, which publishes a real-time updated index of Bitcoin electricity consumption worldwide. As things stand, the global electricity consumption of mining the cryptocurrency is now almost at par with Norway.
Or, greater than the total electricity consumed in Argentina or the United Arab Emirates.
What this means is that if Bitcoin miners were a nation, it would be in the top 30 consumers of electricity worldwide.
According to CEBCI, Bitcoin mining alone consumes an estimated median average of 121.36 TWh of electricity every year. That said, the organization believes that an upper estimate is also possible with a consumption of 289.5 TWh.
This would be greater than the entire annual electricity usage, approaching that of the world’s twelfth largest national consumer that being the UK with 300.5 TWh.
The upper estimate represents a worst-case scenario — that being the use of the least efficient mining rigs currently available.
Data also exposes the geographic breakdown of the network, revealing insights about where the alternative finance power resides in the world.
Bitcoin mining is overwhelming based in Asia and Eastern Europe, with nearly two-thirds of it in China. It accounts for 65% of the global hash rate, with roughly 7% of it being in the US, just under 7% in Russia, 6% in Kazakhstan, 4% in Malaysia, and nearly 4% in Iran.
All things considered, the real-world implications of these CEBCI numbers are overwhelming.
Not only is the cost per watt of mining is sky high, the hardware needed to manufacture and ship across the world also takes its toll. It also rapidly becomes obsolete, eventually ending up in landfills. Mining rigs also generate a lot of heat, requiring cooling.
The environmental impact is significant in every respect.
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