Bitcoin Transaction Processing Now Consumes More Power Than A US Home In A Week

Bitcoin mining is a very common practice today with the price of the cryptocurrency soaring to over $7,000 earlier this month before settling back down in the $6,000 range. With prices soaring more and more people are getting into mining, there has been a marked effect not only on pricing and availability of video cards, but on electricity consumption as well. Most computer users simply plug in their PC and leave it connected never thinking about how much power that machine is slurping.

coal power

According to Digiconmist, it would be profitable for Bitcoin miners to consume over 24 terawatt-hours of electricity annually as they try and mine the cryptocurrency. That is around as much electricity as the entire country of Nigeria uses in a year. When you break that down further, 215KWh of electricity is used by miners for each Bitcoin transaction made each day, and there are roughly 300,000 transactions per day.

Another way to look at the energy consumption is based on what the average home in the U.S. uses as far as electricity per month (The U.S. Energy Information Administration cites 897 kWh on average). That means that each Bitcoin transactions uses a bit less than a quarter of the electricity your average home consumes monthly. Globally, Bitcoin miners are consuming enough power to run about 2.26 million American homes.

Looking at a global scale, Bitcoin mining represents at least 77KWh of energy consumed per Bitcoin transaction. One analyst says that the 215 KWh of electricity could run his home in the Netherlands for about two weeks. That same 215kWh of electricity could fill two Tesla batteries, run your refrigerator for a year, or boil 1872 liters of water.

With massive electricity consumption, you also have to consider pollution caused by electric plants. Looking at a coal-powered Bitcoin mine in Mongolia, the single mine produces up to 13,000 kg CO2 emissions per Bitcoin it mines. Bitcoin mining is profitable, but it's not green. Another calculation puts pollution from Bitcoin mining in a different perspective, for each hour that Mongolian bitcoin mine operates it is responsible for at least the equivalent of over 203,000 kilometers traveled by car.