Bitcoin (BTC) is a divisive virtual currency. Besides its volatility, it’s facing criticism for “supporting” criminal activity. Also, conservationists have slammed it for destroying the planet.
The amount of electricity BTC consumes raises concerns. According to data presented by Tradingplatforms.com, it consumes 143 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity yearly. That’s more than several European countries utilize.
The data paints a bleak picture for the planet. According to Edith Reads of tradingplatforms.com, “The amount of energy that BTC consumes is concerning. Its transactions use more than what some whole countries do at the moment. And this figure is bound to rise because of the asset’s growing mining difficulty that demands more power to execute.”
BTC’s huge energy demand
Compared to data from other industries, the figures take on a whole new meaning. Global data centers, for example, consume 205 TWh per year. In comparison, BTC alone consumes 70% of this total.
And against individual tech enterprises, the disparity heightens. For example, Google utilizes only 12 TWh. That’s a twelfth of BTC’s energy consumption. Similarly, Facebook requires 5TWh of electricity, 3.5 percent of what the premier crypto does.
BTC also overshadows the energy needs of entire countries. Its energy demands, for example, are higher than those of Norway and Switzerland. The former consumes 124 TWh and the latter 56 TWh. These figures fall short of BTC’s demand by 19 and 86 TWh, respectively.
A case for Bitcoin
Bitcoin derives its negative reputation from its technology. It validates transactions using a proof of work (PoW) consensus process. PoW is energy and hardware-intensive. Furthermore, its miners use non-renewable energy resources in their operations.
That said, the BTC industry hasn’t taken the criticism lying down. Its supporters point out that other, commonplace activities have a larger environmental impact. The banking system and the amount of electricity wasted by idling appliances are two examples.
BTC is transitioning into renewable energy mining. Some have suggested switching to energy-saving consensuses, such as proof of stake.