Bitcoin consumes the same amount of energy as the entire internet in 2016
Bitcoin

Bitcoin consumes the same amount of energy as the entire internet in 2016

By Emanuele Pagliari - 24 Jul 2019

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One of the most discussed issues when it comes to bitcoin and, more generally, cryptocurrencies, certainly concerns the enormous amount of energy used by the miners of the BTC network.

According to the latest studies, to date, the entire bitcoin network consumes about 70 TWh per year, exactly equal to the annual consumption of the entire Internet estimated in 2016, as reported at the time by Forbes.

Of course, the origin of consumption on the two networks is different in nature. On the one hand, on bitcoin, most of the consumption comes from mining farms and, only partially, from thousands of network nodes.

 

The world wide web, on the other hand, owes its consumption to the hundreds of thousands of server farms around the world, to the network infrastructures – wireless and wired -, to the billions of devices connected and many other factors.

Fortunately, there has been an improvement in the efficiency of the devices used on both fronts over the years. New and more efficient ASICs have arrived on bitcoin, including the latest Bitmain Antminer S17 and S17 Pro.

By contrast, in the IT world, solutions have been made available (new processors and video cards) that are ever more performing while maintaining or reducing the consumption of old devices.

Bitcoin energy consumption comparable to that of the internet in 2016

Among the other comparisons reported by Willy Woo, an analyst who carried out the study, the one with the total global energy consumption stands out.

The annual consumption of the planet is estimated to be 18 TWatts. Bitcoin, with a consumption of about 70 TWh, absorbs 0.044% of the world’s total energy.

This figure is also equivalent to 232 minutes of total world energy.

Comparing the amount of energy with other means of comparison, 70 TWh per year can be compared to 8 GWatt, 11 million horsepower, 18,000 Tesla Model S P100D at full power, 89 Jumbo Jet at takeoff, 38 nuclear aircraft carriers or even a little less than the energy used by a Falcon 9 rocket at takeoff.

Another curious comparison is that with human heat: it would take 80 million people (about the population of Germany) to produce this amount of energy.

Furthermore, despite the enormous amount of energy used, a large part of it comes from renewable sources.

In detail, about 70% of the bitcoin hashrate comes from China, 80% of which comes from the Sichuan region, which is characterised by dozens of hydroelectric dams. Other mining farms are located in Iceland, Norway, Quebec, Georgia and Colombia, all countries known to have a high rate of electricity produced from renewable sources (solar, hydrothermal, hydroelectric, wind, etc.).

Emanuele Pagliari
Emanuele Pagliari

Telecommunications engineer with a strong passion for technology. His adventure in the world of blogging started on GizChina.it in 2014 and then continued on LFFL.org and GizBlog.it. Emanuele is in the world of cryptocurrency as a miner since 2013 and today he follows the technical aspects related to blockchain, cryptography and dApp, also for applications in the Internet of Things.

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