Bitcoin uses less electricity than porn
Bitcoin

Bitcoin uses less electricity than porn

By Marco Cavicchioli - 17 Sep 2019

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According to recent estimates, the annual consumption of the Bitcoin network is lower than that of online porn videos. 

In fact, estimates regarding the total consumption of the Bitcoin network worldwide suggest that in 2019 it will be just under 75 TWh. 

Whereas in the Lean ICT report of The Shift Project there are some data that allow estimating the consumption resulting from the online viewing of adult videos. 

The report estimates an overall energy consumption of the entire digital sector between 2,312 TWh in 2015 and 2,878 TWh in 2020. Therefore, the estimate for 2019 would be about 2,750 TWh. 

In total, this consumption generates CO2 emissions for a quantity between 1.4 Gt (Gigatons) in 2015 and 1.7 Gt in 2020: so, the estimate for 2019 would be about 1.64 Gt. 

How much electricity does porn use?

The report also analyses these consumptions in detail, isolating and calculating those of some sub-sectors of all digital activities in the world. One of these subsets analysed is the use of online video, for which a CO2 production of more than 300 Mt (Megatons) has been estimated for 2018. 

27% of this quantity is attributable to pornographic videos, which alone have generated emissions of more than 80 Mt of CO2. Thanks to these data, it is possible to estimate that the energy consumption generated by watching online videos for adults was about 134 TWh. 

Assuming that the energy consumption for 2019 is not lower than that of 2018, we can say that the use of online porn videos consumes almost twice as much energy as Bitcoin mining

At this point a question arises: those who argue that the energy consumption of Bitcoin should be reduced, how do they justify the energy consumption of pornographic videos, which is so much higher? In other words, why porn yes, but Bitcoin no? 

Probably the reason is that they are not aware of the overall amount and distribution of energy consumption generated by the use of services offered via the Internet, thus failing to compare the energy consumption of Bitcoin with those of other online services. 

In fact, if analysed on its own, Bitcoin is actually very energy-intensive, but if compared with other services, perhaps much less useful and interesting for humanity, it is not particularly expensive: its consumption is high in absolute values, but not very high in proportion to the others. 

This means, for example, that the actual impact on the environment of a possible reduction in consumption of Bitcoin would be quite insignificant, given that it represents a minimum percentage of the overall energy consumption and that there are other sectors in which a difference could really be made in this regard. 

Marco Cavicchioli
Marco Cavicchioli

Class 1975, Marco teaches web-technologies and is an online writer specializing in cryptocurrencies. He founded ilBitcoin.news, and his YouTube channel has more than 11 thousand subscribers.

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