Last month, the value of Bitcoin skyrocketed to a record high, before plummeting down a few thousand dollars, after which it’s now stabilised at an all time high of $12,000.
The reason for that is because Bitcoins are a finite resource, and the payout has reduced as more and more of it have been mined over time. However, there are still people scrambling to mine whatever they can, and that’s driven up energy consumption across the world in drastic fashion.
That’s because Bitcoin mining involves donating your computer’s processing power to run complex calculations called blockchains. These are strings of records that keep track of every Bitcoin transaction ever conducted, that are replicated on every system in the Bitcoin network. For as long as you devote your system to run these calculations, you get a corresponding amount of the currency, which has been going decreasing yearly as the cryptocurrency’s stock wanes.
According to Bitcoin analysis blog Digiconomist, people mining the cryptocurrency across the globe are using more than 30 terawatts-hours of energy. That’s higher than the individual energy usage of at least 159 countries like Ireland, Hungary, Oman, and Lebanon.
In fact, Bitcoin mining uses as much power as the entirety of Morocco and almost as much as Bulgaria.
And yet, that only includes people mining the cryptocurrency. That doesn’t account for other Bitcoin-related devices that use it, like vending machines and ATMs.
This is why, if you’re setting up a Bitcoin mining operation, you’d likely want to do it in a country with lower energy costs. That’s why China is where an estimated 58 percent of global Bitcoin mining takes place.
And as long as the value of Bitcoin keeps rising, so too will the amount of energy required to “earn” it.