Bitcoin network uses 91TWh of energy in 2021, consumes 66 times more now than in 2015
In 2020, the Bitcoin ecosystem consumed about 67TWh of electric power. This year, the consumption has already exceeded this. It’s estimated that the network will consume 91TWh by the end of 2021, which is the same amount consumed in Pakistan, Bloomberg reports. The price of the flagship crypto is increasing and energy use is being driven up by a higher number of miners using less energy-efficient equipment and devices.
Excessive carbon emissions are a concern
Environmentalists alarm that improving the efficiency of crypto-mining is essential. They advise making the move to low-carbon energy sources for electric power and warn that sustainability efforts can be harmed through the carbon emissions from high-intensity Bitcoin mining.
Bitcoin miners consuming 66 times more electricity than in 2015
The software used to mine Bitcoin takes network users about 10 minutes to process a block using a complex algorithm. This process uses a lot of electricity because miners use massive and powerful systems to verify transactions and mine blocks. It is exactly during the mining process that most of Bitcoin’s energy consumption happens. In 2021, Bitcoin miners are consuming 66 times more electricity than six years ago. Regulators will start paying close attention to the carbon emissions associated with it according to a Citigroup Inc. report cited by Fortune.
Bitcoin electricity demand reached 143 TWh
In the spring of this year, worldwide electric power demand by the Bitcoin network reached 143 TWh (terawatt hours), which was a few percentage points above Argentina’s total electricity generation in 2019. Climate watchers are becoming more and more concerned about carbon emissions related to cryptocurrencies amid a surge in Bitcoin mining, particularly in cases where the electricity for such operations is supplied by plants and facilities using fossil fuels.
Bitcoin mining is becoming more and more popular and miners may face increasing regulations because of their carbon footprint. The Citigroup report states:
“Mining and use of these ‘coins’ is undoubtedly energy-intensive and could face greater regulatory scrutiny as adoption expands, especially if the U.S. continues to scale its crypto footprint.”
The computer networks used by miners to process Bitcoin transactions also require huge amounts of energy to run. The miners are paid in commission fees or newly mined coins. It’s challenging to monitor emission levels because emissions from blockchain operations aren’t listed separately. This makes controlling industry behavior very difficult.