While some continue to praise Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as the beginning of the new world order, there are some who believe that the very digital currencies might spell doom by accelerating global warming. The dissent against Bitcoin and other PoW based cryptocurrencies is fueled by the extent of mining operations. As the mining hardware continues to become more powerful, the mining difficulty rises proportionally to maintain a constant emission of new tokens.
An increase in mining difficulty also means increasing energy requirements. According to reports, the recent rise in Ethereum value has led to an increased interest among the cryptocurrency community members. Many people have taken up Ethereum mining using graphic processors.
The increasing demand for graphics processors has not only caused a scarcity of GPUs in the market. It has, in turn, increased the energy consumption. According to reports, the total energy consumed by the Bitcoin network has risen to 14.54 terawatt hours (TWh) per year. The energy requirement is expected to further grow with the growth of the community.
It puts the total amount of energy required to process each Bitcoin transaction at 163 kWh, equivalent to the amount of energy used by an average household in the United States for five and a half days. A further extrapolation puts the electricity consumption of Bitcoin network to be equivalent to the overall annual energy consumption of Turkmenistan, that ranks 81 in energy consumption ranking on a global scale.
While Bitcoin network takes the first place when it comes to overall energy consumption, Ethereum isn’t far behind. According to the report, the total annual electricity requirement for Ethereum mining is equivalent to that of Moldova (with an energy consumption ranking on 120) at 4.69 TWh. Each Ether transaction uses an average of 49 kWh, which is equivalent to one and a half days’ worth of electricity for an average US household.
The upcoming Bitcoin scalability options and Ethereum’s impending switch from Proof of Work to Hybrid Proof of Stake algorithm may lead to a significant reduction in the electricity consumption trends.
Ref: Hot hardware | Image: NewsBTC