June 21, 2021

Cryptocurrencies  have baffled me for years.  When in Iceland the tour guide announced that Iceland was popular for setting up Bitcoin mining facilities (warehouses filled with computers) because Iceland has cheaper geo thermal power.  This year electricity use at Bitcoin mining data centres is likely to exceed that of all Iceland’s homes.

Bitcoin mining is a power-intensive process that updates the ledgers of transactions (Blockchain). This requires them to solve numerical puzzles which have a 64-digit hexadecimal solution know as a hash. Miners may be rewarded with bitcoins, but only if they arrive at the solution before others.

A terawatt hour (TWh) is a measure of electricity that represents 1 trillion watts sustained for one hour.

Here is how the Bitcoin mining network’s power consumption compares to other power consumers .  Annual power consumption in TWh:

Google 12 TWh
Facebook 5 TWh
Ford 14 TWh
Bitcoin 129Twh

Bitcoins power consumption is equal to roughly 80% of what NY uses. The state is the forth largest in the US with over 19 million people.

Elon Musk has announced that Tesla has suspended Vehicle purchases using Bitcoin due to climate change concerns and Bitcoin fell by more than 10%.   “We are concerned about rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel”

“Cryptocurrency is a good idea….but this cannot come at great cost to the environment”

Interesting  I still don’t really understand Bitcoin.

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