Bitcoin’s insatiable hunger for energy

As a quick gauge, a single bitcoin transaction has been reported to use the same amount of energy to power nine homes in the United States for one day.

In case, you’ve haven’t been following the news, there have ongoing buzz about cryptocurrencies, specifically bitcoins. In case, you are unaware about Bitcoin, here’s a quick visual snippet:

Though the focus has been on its continuing increase of its value and monetary agencies warning bitcoin investors to act with extreme caution, the energy consumption of such bitcoin transactions have been greatly overlooked which can have extreme effects on the environment.

In an opinion piece by The Straits Times, such transactions have been referred to as “burning mines”.  The complex mathematical problems to process such transactions are becoming increasingly challenge to solve, making bitcoin miners to be quipped with high-speed processors.

Such transactions needs more energy and emit heat – which also need cooling systems such as huge fans to prevent breakdowns. Digiconomist – a cryptocurrency publication has projected that “energy will be exhausted by bitcoins than the whole of the US by July 2019, and the entire world’s energy consumption will be surpassed by the end of 2020”.

There’s no way cryptocurrencies are going to go away, but are we ready for such insatiable energy consumption. The author advises to do our bit by thinking twice before buying bitcoins. But would that be enough? There were such concerns about energy consumption by Google searches few years back but seems we’ve come a long way since then. Perhaps, we need to think about measures that could be put in place especially in countries where they use environmentally unfriendly source of energy such as coal?


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