Bitcoin: Is It Eating Up Our Clean Energy?
Story So Far
As the Bitcoin industry goes from strength to strength and draws closer to the 17th million coin being mined, imminently, the fallout from Cryptocurrencies is beginning to unveil itself.
As the large Bitcoin mining machines churn their way through power to carry on producing Bitcoin and the numerous other Cryptocurrencies now on offer, power companies are highlighting the effect this is having on the world. Obviously, the Bitcoin miners will position themselves where energy is cheap to ensure the cost-effectiveness of their business. A very business wise decision. However, it is now becoming apparent these large mining plants are taking renewable energy away from the general public and communities throughout the world.
It is a well-known fact that Bitcoin mining takes an awful lot of energy to power the necessary computers to continue mining 24/7. It has been quoted that for every single Bitcoin transaction that takes place it equates to what one US household’s consumption would use in three whole weeks. This in itself is an astounding fact but when you consider that there are close to 200,000 Bitcoin transactions every single day, it is a phenomenal amount of power. It is estimated that the whole country of Portugal uses the same amount of energy as Bitcoin.
Already in Iceland, the demand for electricity has outgrown the actual amount available. The attraction of Iceland’s big glacier (the largest in Europe) caught the attention of an aluminum company ten years ago and it has been running a hydroelectricity dam from the glacier ever since. Other corporates have also noticed the natural carbon-free power available in the country and are already making use of it hence the supply and demand no longer working in the correct ratio.
Furthermore, it has been suggested that Bitcoin mining has left scientists without computers as well as taking the renewable energy sources from around the world. And as countries tighten up the amount of power available for Bitcoin miners, the miners are becoming more and more creative in where they move their operations too. China is a prime example. Chinese miners are now on the global search of renewable energy in locations such as Western Europe and Paraguay. Power suppliers in Quebec are apparently saying no to several requests every single day. This is for the simple reason that there is not enough power to sustain additional power requests in an already heavily loaded grid.
In The Future
There are crypto specific power plants popping up around the world. In Australia – for instance – there is a crypto specific mining plant run by solar power. There are steps already taken in Europe to offer tailored crypto mining green energy by the biggest power provider on the continent.
However, at the end of the day, the clear and simple fact is that the renewable energy sources cannot be built quick enough to meet the demand of the crypto mining requirements. It is already anticipated that by April 2019, Bitcoin will be using the same amount of energy as Sweden. This is double the consumption right now. What happens in the future remains to be seen.
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