Eco-friendly Bitcoin Mining Can Reduce Carbon Footprints (yes, Really)
Eco-Friendly Bitcoin Mining Can Reduce Carbon Footprints (Yes, Really) With each passing day, it seems as though the conversation on Bitcoins energy consumption rages on, though new ground is rarely broken on the topic. Like bears to honey, media outlets flock to FUD stories on minings electrical costs and doomsday predictions of a world driven to the ecological brink, thanks to bitcoin mining . There is a strong argument to be made, however, that far from plunging the globe into ecological disaster, cryptocurrency mining can be sustainable or, better yet, can be used to neutralize the carbon footprint of other energy intensive processes. Indeed, under the right circumstances, mining can produce a minimal carbon output. Moreover, its energy emissions can be recycled for other eco-friendly endeavors. Bitcoin uses a consensus algorithm known as proof of work to order and timestamp transactions on its blockchain. Basically, miners those who process transactions run energy intensive computations on their computers to solve the cryptographic equations that are needed to find new blocks and keep the network secure. As the network attracts more value and miners try to outcompete each other to find the next block, they will invest more energy in solving these equations. Depending on who youre asking, this process has Bitcoin consuming more energy than a small country (e.g., Bulgaria, North Korea), which could be anywhere from 1 to 35 terawatt-hours per year. Some have argued that innovations like the Lightning Network will scale this problem out of existence, while other critics claim that a proof-of-stake, distributed consensus mechanism could prove to be more ecologically sound. Within this debate, there are those who say this process is unsustainable and needs be fixed. The Continue reading >>
Global Bitcoin Mining Now Consumes As Much Electricity As Nigeria
sign up today to receive our daily news briefs featuring a handful of the most important stories in business, tech, and life EMAILED ON November 6, 2017 BY THE HUSTLE Global Bitcoin mining now consumes as much electricity as Nigeria Bitcoin prices are at an all-time high (over $7k per coin), but the trajectory comes with a surprising side effect: energy consumption for cryptocurrency transactions is through the roof. As more and more miners take to their comps, they must solve increasingly more difficult cryptographic puzzles. These complex computations, in turn, take more and more energy, meaning that today, just one Bitcoin transaction now takes 215 kilowatt-hours of electricity enough to power the average American home for a week. Its all thanks to massive international mining operations Operating overseas in countries like China, Malaysia, and Iceland, out of huge data centers filled with supercomputers. Aka energy-sucking monsters. Aka we arent talking Dells, people! As a result, electricity costs comprise nearly 95% of total mining costs hence why the highest concentration of miners are located close to cheap hydropower (near places like Tibet). So sure, its not mining in the traditional sense its crypto-mining in, like, the future is now kinda sense. According to Digiconomists Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index , as Bitcoins energy consumption continues to rise, its blowing other global payment systems out of the water. Bitcoin mining currently takes 27 times more energy than the entire global Visa network and 3 times more energy than the next largest cryptocurrency, Ethereum which, unlike Bitcoin, is actually taking steps to reduce its energy-sucking mining algorithm. Dont you dare make us start taking sides in the crypto-game, Bitcoin. Its too soon! Get news (li Continue reading >>
Bitcoins Alarming Carbon Footprint
The mining process for the cryptocurrency bitcoin is power hungry, and is increasing its environmental impact as its price and popularity rise. Cryptocurrencies are generated by specialized software, used to solve complex mathematical problems that represent proof-of-work algorithms in exchange for electronic coins (see ). Some estimate that the combined electricity consumption for bitcoin and ethereum mining, which together represent 88% of the total cryptocurrency market capitalization (G. Hileman and M. Rauchs ; 2017), has already reached a staggering 47 terawatt-hours per year and is on the rise (see www.digiconomist.net ). To put this into perspective, Greeces population of 11 million consumes close to 57 terawatt-hours annually. Moreover, 58% of all cryptocurrency mining is done in China and is typically powered by coal plants. Using the life-cycle impact-assessment methodology, I estimate that the annual carbon footprint for bitcoin and ethereum mining is comparable to that of some 6.8 million average European inhabitants or as much as 43.9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (see ReCiPe and IPCC 2013 methods, respectively, at go.nature.com/2nn7zzj ). In my opinion, the cryptocurrency industry is urgently in need of reform to make it environmentally sustainable. Continue reading >>
What Can We Do About Bitcoins Enormous Energy Consumption?
What Can We Do About Bitcoins Enormous Energy Consumption? The cryptocurrency might be on pace to use as much energy as the entire United States. Bitcoin has recently been in the news for two big reasons. One, its becoming a lot more valuableone coin is worth $17,000 at the time of writingand some investors are becoming rich as a result. And two, because it seems that bitcoin is a huge energy hog. One widely cited estimate says mining the cryptocurrency consumes more power than the whole of Ireland. Another predicts that it could use as much electricity as thewhole of the U.S.by the summer of 2019. Thats right: the whole of the United States. And just to run a currency that arguably isnt very useful and certainly is not tangible. You cant pocket and spend bitcoin in the same way as dollars and cents, even if it is currently a great investment. Most bitcoin is currently transacted as a tradable asset, not spent in stores or on websites in exchange for goods or services. The questions are these, then: Does bitcoin really use that much energy? Do it and other cryptocurrencies need to use that much energy in the future? And, is the use of that energy actually worth it in a wider social sense? Can bitcoin justify its power surge in the age of climate change and dwindling mainstream energy resources? Bitcoin isnt issued by governments or banks. Its created by a decentralized network of miners who mint about 3,500 new units a day. The miners play a crucial role validating transactions between participants in the network. They allow the network to operate without a coordinating authority like a central bank.This decentralization is inefficient, however. The miners compete for the right to validate transactions to the bitcoins universal ledgera blockchainby racing to solve comp Continue reading >>
The Real Carbon Footprint Of Cryptocurrency
It appears there is a lot of misinformation on the internet when it comes to cryptocurrencies and the associated electricity usage. More specifically, most sources claim Bitcoin mining uses a lot of energy, which is absolutely correct. However, it seemsthe situation is being blown out of proportion completely. According to the infographic below, there are a lot ofthings regarding cryptocurrency mining which people need to take into account. It is true that Bitcoin mining requires a lot of electricity in general, but it is pretty much impossibleforthis industry to use more electricity thanany other sector in the near future. As of right now, Bitcoin mining uses around 0.14% of all global electricity, which makes it a non-factor in the grand scheme of things. It seems most of the present misinformation comes fromarecent Digiconomist report which discussed cryptocurrency mining.It claimed that Bitcoin mining requires as much energy as does the country of Singapore.That amount was saidto be sufficient to power over 4 million households, which seems a bit exaggerated. Since there is insufficient data to determine how much electricity isactually being used, a lot of assumptions are being made. Moreover, a British website claims that Bitcoin mining energy consumption will surpassthat of the entire United States in 2019. Consideringthat the formers current electricity usage is on par with the country of Singapore, it would take a lot of effort to use as much energy as the United States. With most ofthese assumptions being based on the information provided by Digiconomist, it is evident there is a lot of biasagainst Bitcoin mining as of right now. Unfortunately, it will be rather difficult to get rid of this factually incorrect information. It is impossible to make any accurate Continue reading >>
How Big Is Blockchain's Carbon Footprint?
How Big Is Blockchain's Carbon Footprint? Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. Whats the carbon footprint of blockchain technology? originally appeared on Quora : the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. Answer by Michael Barnard , Low-carbon Innovation Strategist, on Quora : Whats the carbon footprint of blockchain technology? Bitcoin is a bubble. There are three things which drive its absurd power use: artificial scarcity leading to many, many miners, its increasingly hard competition for the remaining few million coins and its proof-of-work approach to immutability and validity. Theres no inherent value in Bitcoin, its slow to transact and its expensive to transact. It will turn into a rarely turned over asset like fine art paintings in a specialty market, but will peak soon if it hasnt already. Proof-of-work is an already obsolete approach to the Byzantine Generals Problem. The Bitcoin problem, in other words is a multiplying problem: high energy to discover the solution * many, many people trying to discover the solution * proof-of-work. Its inefficient and inelegant from a resources perspective, while being elegant as a first mover on the Byzantine Generals problem. Ethereum is bubbly but its consumption is about to drop radically. It has been using proof-of-work, but is about to move to its Casper proof-of-stake model which will reduce mining competition and the like substantially. Ethereums electricity consumption will drop by orders of magnitude. Casper will be a hard fork so while the old stuff will still be around, its problems will become more and more apparent. There will be a lot of secondary coins created on the Ethereum model which wont follow the hard fork, but th Continue reading >>
Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index
Bitcoin's current estimated annual electricity consumption* (TWh) Country closest to Bitcoin in terms of electricity consumption Estimated electricity used over the previous day (KWh) Total Network Hashrate in PH/s (1,000,000 GH/s) Electricity consumed per transaction (KWh) Number of U.S. households that could be powered by Bitcoin Number of U.S. households powered for 1 day by the electricity consumed for a single transaction Bitcoin's electricity consumption as a percentage of the world's electricity consumption Carbon footprint per transaction (kg of CO2) *The assumptions underlying this energy consumption estimate can be found here . Ever since its inception Bitcoins trust-minimizing consensus has been enabled by its proof-of-work algorithm. The machines performing the work are consuming huge amounts of energy while doing so. The Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index was created to provide insight into this amount, and raise awareness on the unsustainability of the proof-of-work algorithm. Note that the Index contains the aggregate of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash. A separate index was created for Ethereum, which can be found here . New sets of transactions (blocks) are added to Bitcoins blockchain roughly every 10 minutes by so-called miners. While working on the blockchain these miners arent required to trust each other. The only thing miners have to trust is the code that runs Bitcoin. The code includes several rules to validate new transactions. For example, a transaction can only be valid if the sender actually owns the sent amount. Every miner individually confirms whether transactions adhere to these rules, eliminating the need to trust other miners. The trick is to get all miners to agree on the same history of transactions. Every miner in the network is constantly t Continue reading >>
Bitcoin Mining And Its Energy Footprint
By Karl J. ODwyer and David Malone - Hamilton Institute National University of Ireland Maynooth. Bronzechain: New hallmark for bronze with blockchain technology unveiled Abstract Bitcoin is a digital cryptocurrency that has generated considerable public interest, including both booms in value and busts of exchanges dealing in Bitcoins. One of the fundamental concepts of Bitcoin is that work, called mining, must be done in checking all monetary transactions, which in turn creates Bitcoins as a reward. In this paper we look at the energy consumption of Bitcoin mining. We consider if and when Bitcoin mining has been profitable compared to the energy cost of performing the mining, and conclude that specialist hardware is usually required to make Bitcoin mining profitable. We also show that the power currently used for Bitcoin mining is comparable to Irelands electricity consumption. Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency mainly used for monetary transactions on the Internet  and is designed to be similar to fiat money and commodities. Bitcoins are intrinsically valueless, their worth is decided by those trading in them. At the time of writing, 1 Bitcoin (B) is worth approximately 378.7 Euro(e). Bitcoin has generated a huge amount of interest in the media lately and has sparked a wave of copy-cat-currencies (Litecoin, Gaelcoin, etc.) and even a fully working parody currency (dogecoin). It has also generated interest in academic circles due to issues it creates in user privacy e.g. , as well as attempts to gain insights into is behind transactions e.g.  and attempts to better understand its implications as a payment system e.g. . Bitcoin is based on a peer-to-peer network within the Internet. The members of the peer-to-peer network effectively maintain a ledger Continue reading >>
Can We Prevent A Global Energy Crisis From Bitcoin Mining?
Can We Prevent a Global Energy Crisis From Bitcoin Mining? Some ideas on how to stop bitcoin mining from destroying the planet. Bitcoin has a large and rapidly growing energy and environmental footprint. The bitcoin ecosystem now uses approximately the same power as the entire country of Bulgaria, about 0.2 percent of the global total for electricity. Bitcoins computing network has grown at an 1,100 percent average annual pace over the last five years. So if we project out just a few years, we get a truly massive energy demand for the new king of coins: Bitcoin would use more electricity than the entire world uses today, by 2020, if the recent growth trend in bitcoin mining power continues. As of December 2017, the global hashrate is about 17 exahash per second (EH/s), up from just 2.5 at the beginning of the year, and up from just about 10,000 terahash per second (TH/s) at the beginning of 2014. (The hashrate is the processing speed of the bitcoin network.) What will happen if and when bitcoin starts consuming a significant portion of global power? The massive profits available to miners provide a strong incentive to continue mining even with dirty power, consequences be damned. Ive suggested here thatsolar-powered bitcoin mining is part of the solution, because solar powers environmental footprint is relatively benign compared to its competitors. But even solar has a footprint -- a rather large one in terms of the land it uses. It has no emissions and almost no visual footprint, but the habitat it potentially displaces, or the agricultural activities it may displace, are important environmental factors to consider. Heres the crux of the problem: There is no upper limit to the price of bitcoin and therefore no upper limit to how much energy and resources could be appr Continue reading >>
Bitcoin Mining Has A Massive Carbon Footprint | Wired
Bitcoin Mining Guzzles EnergyAnd Its Carbon Footprint Just Keeps Growing Paul Ratje/The Washington Post/Getty Images This storyoriginally appeared on Grist and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration. If youre like me, youve probably been ignoring the bitcoin phenomenon for years because it seemed too complex, far-fetched, or maybe even too libertarian. But if you have any interest in a future where the world moves beyond fossil fuels, you and I should both start paying attention now. Last week, the value of a single bitcoin broke the $10,000 barrier for the first time. Over the weekend, the price nearly hit $12,000. At the beginning of this year, it was less than $1,000. If you had bought $100 in bitcoin back in 2011, your investment would be worth nearly $4 million today. All over the internet there are stories of people who treated their friends to lunch a few years ago and, as a novelty, paid with bitcoin . Those same people are now realizing that if theyd just paid in cash and held onto their digital currency, theyd now have enough money to buy a house. That sort of precipitous rise is stunning, of course, but bitcoin wasnt intended to be an investment instrument. Its creators envisioned it as a replacement for money itselfa decentralized, secure, anonymous method for transferring value between people. But what they might not have accounted for is how much of an energy suck the computer network behind bitcoin could one day become. Simply put, bitcoin is slowing the effort to achieve a rapid transition away from fossil fuels. Whats more, this is just the beginning. Given its rapidly growing climate footprint, bitcoin is a malignant development, and its getting worse. Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin provide a unique service: Financial transactions that dont require Continue reading >>
One Bitcoin Transaction Now Uses As Much Energy As Your House In A Week
One Bitcoin Transaction Now Uses as Much Energy as Your House in a Week Bitcoins surge in price has sent its electricity consumption soaring. Bitcoin's incredible price run to break over $7,000 this year has sent its overall electricity consumption soaring, as people worldwide bring more energy-hungry computers online to mine the digital currency. An index from cryptocurrency analyst Alex de Vries, aka Digiconomist , estimates that with prices the way they are now, it would be profitable for Bitcoin miners to burn through over 24 terawatt-hours of electricity annually as they compete to solve increasingly difficult cryptographic puzzles to "mine" more Bitcoins. That's about as much as Nigeria, a country of 186 million people, uses in a year. This averages out to a shocking 215 kilowatt-hours (KWh) of juice used by miners for each Bitcoin transaction (there are currently about 300,000 transactions per day). Since the average American household consumes 901 KWh per month , each Bitcoin transfer represents enough energy to run a comfortable house, and everything in it, for nearly a week. On a larger scale, De Vries' index shows that bitcoin miners worldwide could be using enough electricity to at any given time to power about 2.26 million American homes. Expressing Bitcoin's energy use on a per-transaction basis is a useful abstraction. Bitcoin uses x energy in total, and this energy verifies/secures roughly 300k transactions per day. So this measure shows the value we get for all that electricity, since the verified transaction (and our confidence in it) is ultimately the end product. It's worth asking ourselves hard questions about Bitcoin's environmental footprint Since 2015 , Bitcoin's electricity consumption has been very high compared to conventional digital payment Continue reading >>
Bitcoin Energy Boom Stamps Down Colossal Carbon Footprint
Digiconomist analyst Alex de Vries, whose Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index model has faced criticism for some of its assumptions , said a more "optimistic" estimate can besimply calculated: Divide total computational power by that of the most efficient mining machines, and see how many fit in the network. Analysis by DW using this approach produced a lower-bound estimate of more than a gigawatt of power across the entire bitcoin network for all of these calculations. "This method ignores significant factors like cooling in large-scale operation, and older generations [of machines] completely," de Vries said, "but still leaves us with about 100 [kilowatt-hours, or kWh] per transaction instead of the 250 kWh I'm reporting." Put into perspective, about 300,000 bitcoin transactions take place every day. Over a year, an electricity bill of 100 kWh for each equates to half of all the electricity consumed by Nigeria last year. Vranken said his January estimates of less than half a gigawatt were "definitely not as much as a country consumes but since then, things have changed." Part of the confusion comes from bitcoin's meteoric price jumps, which have rendered many energy estimates out-of-date. As the price of bitcoins rises, so too does the economic incentive to cash in on the craze. The resultant frenzy which has been described as both a gold rush and a bubble waiting to burst leads to more computer calculations, or hashes, per second. "The hash rate in 2014 was about 300,000, and at the start of 2017 it was more like 2 million," said David Malone of Maynooth University. In that period, top-shelf hardware got about five times as efficient at computing hashes, Malone said, outweighing a significant fraction of the increase in energy costs. But now, the hash rate has leapt up Continue reading >>
What's The Carbon Footprint Of Bitcoin?
Despite not having a physical form, digital currency comes with a tangible carbon cost. by Erin Mundahl, InsideSources.com / December 13, 2017 (TNS) The price of bitcoin has been rising so fast that it has become almost impossible to write about it. Any lede mentioning a new record high must be amended within a matter of hours to account for a new record, or, alternatively, for a sudden plummet. The publicity also caused a different sort of analysis of bitcoin, namely its environmental impact. Are there real world costs to using this purely digital currency? Bitcoin may not have physical weight, nor require iron bars to lock it away, but some argue that the bitcoin mining, storing, and eventual transaction requires an increasing amount of processing power and in turn, increasing amounts of energy. Others, however, say that these fears are far-fetched. Bitcoin is created by computers mining or solving complex mathematical equations. These transactions are recorded in blocks, files that also record transactions between bitcoin users. Each of these blocks is linked to a mathematical problem. Bitcoin miners race against each other to complete these problems in order to win newly minted bitcoin. Over time, the math behind bitcoin mining becomes increasingly complex, requiring more and more computing power to unlock a single coin. This shift increases the input costs of mining, in terms of hardware, time, and also energy. The digital world may be made largely of silicon, but it runs on electricity. As a result, even the most mundane digital tasksuch as a Google searchhas real carbon costs. Back in 2009, when Apple had sold a measly 34 million iPhones, a Harvard physicist calculated the carbon cost of web browsing. Dr. Alex Wissner-Gross estimated then that browsing a simple Continue reading >>
Bitcoin Mining On Track To Consume All Of The Worlds Energy By 2020
Bitcoin Mining on Track to Consume All of the Worlds Energy by 2020 A satellite composition of the world at night. Projections suggest the amount of electricity required to mine bitcoin will be equivalent to all of the worlds current energy production. NASA/ Wikimedia Commons A network that underpins the virtual currency bitcoin is projected to require all of the worlds current energy production in order to support itself within three years, according to estimates. The amount of power necessary to support bitcoin has increased significantly in recent months, as its price has surged to record levels. On Monday, one bitcoin was worth around $16,500a twentyfold increase since the start of 2017. Bitcoin miningthe process of generating new units of the currency by confirming bitcoin transactions on an online ledger called the blockchainrequires computing power, whichis used to solve the complex mathematical puzzles used in the mining process. These problemsare designed to become more complicated as more computers join the cryptocurrency's network. Keep up with this story and more by subscribing now Analysis of how much energy it currently requires to mine bitcoin suggest that it is greater than the current energy consumption of 159 individual countries, including Ireland, Nigeria and Uruguay. The Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index by cryptocurrency platform Digiconomist puts the usage on a par with Denmark, consuming33 terawatts of electricity annually. Bitcoin mining already consumes more energy per year than the countries marked in red. Newsweek/ MapChart As mining can provide a solid stream of revenue, people are very willing to run power-hungry machines to get a piece of it. Over the years, this has caused the total energy consumption of the bitcoin network to grow to epi Continue reading >>
Bitcoin Mining And Its Energy Footprint
ISSC 2014 / CIICT 2014, Limerick, June 2627 E-mail: [email protected] [email protected] Abstract Bitcoin is a digital cryptocurrency that has generated considerable public interest, including both booms in value and busts of exchanges dealing in Bitcoins. One of the fundamental concepts of Bitcoin is that work, called mining, must be done in checking all monetary transactions, which in turn creates Bitcoins as a reward. In this paper we look at the energy consumption of Bitcoin mining. We consider if and when Bitcoin mining has been protable compared to the energy cost of performing the mining, and conclude that specialist hardware is usually required to make Bitcoin mining protable. We also show that the power currently used for Bitcoin mining is comparable to Irelands electricity consumption. Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency mainly used for monetary transactions on the Internet  and is designed to be similar to at money and commodities. Bitcoins are intrinsically valueless, their worth is decided by those trading in them. At the time of writing, 1 Bitcoin (B) is worth ap- proximately 378.7 Euro(e). Bitcoin has generated a huge amount of interest in the media lately and has sparked a wave of copy-cat-currencies (Lite- coin, Gaelcoin, etc.) and even a fully working par- ody currency (dogecoin). It has also generated in- terest in academic circles due to issues it creates in user privacy e.g. , as well as attempts to gain insights into is behind transactions e.g.  and at- tempts to better understand its implications as a Bitcoin is based on a peer-to-peer network within the Internet. The members of the peer-to- peer network eectively maintain a ledger of Bit- coin transactions which have been accepted by the network. In this ledger, Bitcoins are Continue reading >>