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Author Topic: Stop worrying about how much energy bitcoin uses  (Read 147 times)
Hydrogen
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August 23, 2018, 09:52:46 AM
 #1

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The word “bitcoin” is as likely to garner feverish excitement as it is glaring criticism. The financial community sees speculative promise in the form of trade that currently has little to no regulation. Meanwhile, others argue that it’s a distraction that detracts from the overall longevity of U.S. financial institutions.

Bitcoin’s energy consumption has become a recent talking point in the debate. A Forbes article published May 30 indicates that bitcoin dramatically increases global energy consumption – and that electricity is its “Achilles heel.”

I am a researcher who studies clean energy technology, specifically the transition toward decarbonized energy systems. I think that the conversation around bitcoin and energy has been oversimplified.

New technologies – such as data centers, computers and before them trains, planes and automobiles – are often energy-intensive. Over time, all of these have become more efficient, a natural progression of any technology: Saving energy equates to saving costs.

By talking specifically about just the consumption of energy alone, I believe many fail to understand one of the most basic benefits of renewable energy systems. Electricity production can increase while still maintaining a minimal impact on the environment. Rather than focusing on how much energy bitcoin uses, the discussion should center around who indeed is producing it – and where their power comes from.

Counting consumption
Unlocking a bitcoin requires an intense amount of computational power. Think of bitcoin as sort of a hidden currency code, where its value is derived by solving a programmable puzzle. Getting through this puzzle requires computer brainpower.

Electricity is 90 percent of the cost to mine bitcoin. As such, bitcoin mining uses an exorbitant amount of power: somewhere between an estimated 30 terrawatt hours alone in 2017 alone. That’s as much electricity as it takes to power the entire nation of Ireland in one year.

Indeed, this is a lot, but not exorbitant. Banking consumes an estimated 100 terrawatts of power annually. If bitcoin technology were to mature by more than 100 times its current market size, it would still equal only 2 percent of all energy consumption.


Power sources
Bitcoin is certainly consuming an increasing amount of power worldwide, but is it increasing the world’s carbon consumption? Bitcoin miners have traditionally set up shop in China, where coal supplies 60 percent of the nation’s electricity.

Now, bitcoin mining is exploding in areas with cheap power, like the Pacific Northwest. Power there is mainly cheap due to the massive availability of hydropower, a low-carbon resource.

Bitcoin mining in China, with a largely fossil-based electricity source, may indeed be problematic. China is already one of the world’s major contributors of carbon emissions. However, bitcoin mining in Oregon? Not the same thing. Not all types of energy generation are equal in their impact on the environment, nor does the world uniformly rely on the same types of generation across states and markets.

In Europe, for example, Iceland is becoming a popular place for bitcoin mining. That nation relies on nearly 100 percent renewable energy for its production. An abundant supply of geothermal and hydropower energy makes bitcoiners’ power demand cheap and nearly irrelevant.

Similarly, in the hydropower-driven Pacific Northwest, miners can still expect to turn a profit without contributing heavily to carbon emissions.


The right discussion
Like many other aspects of the energy industry, bitcoin is not necessarily a “bad guy.” It’s simply a new, and vaguely understood, industry.

The discussion about energy consumption and bitcoin is, I believe, unfair without discussing the energy intensity of new technologies overall, specifically in data centers.

Rather than discussing the energy consumption of bitcoin generally, people should be discussing the carbon production of bitcoin, and understanding whether certain mining towns are adding to an already large environmental burden.

Although there has been extensive discussion in the media of bitcoin’s energy consumption, I’m not aware of any studies that actually calculate the comparative carbon footprint of the bitcoin process.

Global electricity consumption is going up overall. The U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts that world use will increase nearly 28 percent over the next two decades. But increasing energy consumption is bad only if we aren’t shifting toward less carbon-dense power production. So far, it seems that only miners are currently shifting toward cleaner parts of the world.

So perhaps people should quit criticizing bitcoin for its energy intensity and start criticizing states and nations for still providing new industries with dirty power supplies instead.


https://theconversation.com/stop-worrying-about-how-much-energy-bitcoin-uses-97591

....

Haven't seen many pieces which made an attempt to be objective and unbiased on bitcoin's energy consumption.

I believe this one to be accurate with a single exception. Most bitcoin mining operations in china are powered by hydroelectric plants rather than coal. She is correct in citing coal as producing the majority of china's electricity. However she is incorrect in thinking this translates to bitcoin mining utilizing coal.

Hydroelectric power is cheaper and more affordable than coal generated electricity. Bitcoin miners have mobility due to mining not being tied to any specific geographic area. This makes it the perfect application for "zero carbon emission", environmentally friendly, hydroelectric power and I do believe that is the source miners tap.

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August 23, 2018, 10:00:44 AM
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Yup for people who are against Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general they always try to find loopholes or associate bad things on it yet they fail to even make a good ppint about of it. Just like what they are saying about crypto mining taking up a lot of power when they fail to make renewable energy as a factor. They talk about mining wasting energy as if electricity now is a scarce resource. Why not instead of complaining about it they instead try to improve the renewable energy we currently have because it is really now important to change from coal to a much more greener alternative.

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August 23, 2018, 12:56:33 PM
 #3

Hydroelectric power is cheaper and more affordable than coal generated electricity. Bitcoin miners have mobility due to mining not being tied to any specific geographic area. This makes it the perfect application for "zero carbon emission", environmentally friendly, hydroelectric power and I do believe that is the source miners tap.

This.

Bitcoin miners will always mine where energy is cheaper, not matter where this energy source is located.

As hidroelectricity is much cheaper than the other sources, miners will use hidro electricity because it's cheaper, not because they are worried about carbon emissions.

They are doing what is better for the environment because it's also more profitable for them, to mine with green energy


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August 23, 2018, 01:33:42 PM
 #4

Yup for people who are against Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general they always try to find loopholes or associate bad things on it yet they fail to even make a good ppint about of it. Just like what they are saying about crypto mining taking up a lot of power when they fail to make renewable energy as a factor. They talk about mining wasting energy as if electricity now is a scarce resource. Why not instead of complaining about it they instead try to improve the renewable energy we currently have because it is really now important to change from coal to a much more greener alternative.

That is true also they can only make a valid reason to stop cryptocurrency mining if the miners and the mining farms stop paying for the electricity that they use, and I doubt that they are now paying what they consume. Also some of these miners also use renewable energy like solar panels so that they can reduce their monthly costs.

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August 23, 2018, 01:37:52 PM
 #5


Haven't seen many pieces which made an attempt to be objective and unbiased on bitcoin's energy consumption.

I believe this one to be accurate with a single exception. Most bitcoin mining operations in china are powered by hydroelectric plants rather than coal. She is correct in citing coal as producing the majority of china's electricity. However she is incorrect in thinking this translates to bitcoin mining utilizing coal.

Hydroelectric power is cheaper and more affordable than coal generated electricity. Bitcoin miners have mobility due to mining not being tied to any specific geographic area. This makes it the perfect application for "zero carbon emission", environmentally friendly, hydroelectric power and I do believe that is the source miners tap.

You make thread on similar topic recently, and you also pointed out how good is hydroelectric power, but it is not environmentally friendly in any way - we should stop treat hydroelectric as something completely harmless towards the environment.

I think something that consumes less then 1% of the total world consumption of electricity, should not be a matter of concern -  it is just a part of the regular attempts to show BTC as something bad in this world. Besides everyday stories regarding criminal use, money laundering, ransomware and many others, now they say we will stay in dark because it takes too much power to mine bitcoin...

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August 23, 2018, 01:44:23 PM
 #6

We as supporters of bitcoin already know that it's totally a false allegation over bitcoin that it consumed the highest electrical energy for mining operations.Critics just want to target bitcoin by any means.Also even if it consumed higher energy,its not related to coal and mostly hydro electric power.


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August 23, 2018, 02:45:28 PM
 #7

For me I am believing tha capability of bitcoin to sustain any odds that are encountered by bitcoin, so if bitcoin has poured some energy about this odds, we should not be worrying about it ,because bitcoin is strong and and can be trusted.

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August 23, 2018, 02:50:26 PM
 #8

We as supporters of bitcoin already know that it's totally a false allegation over bitcoin that it consumed the highest electrical energy for mining operations.Critics just want to target bitcoin by any means.Also even if it consumed higher energy,its not related to coal and mostly hydro electric power.

Truth.

It is just an attack. It became normal to me nowadays.
They will try to create a hole just so they could attack the bitcoin technology for a purpose. One is to dump the price.
For what? For them to have a way to join the bitcoin technology and then bringing a bull afterwards. Creating good stories after they came in.

It is just another manipulation which should not be wasted any time and energy.

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August 23, 2018, 03:19:21 PM
 #9

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However she is incorrect in thinking this translates to bitcoin mining utilizing coal.

Yeah that is the incorrect statement she has made and what they are thinking about this ? Do they think that whatever is generated from the electricity hubs is mostly distributed into the town planning and I dont think that there is anything as if there are mining farms at the very corner of colony, counties, streets and much more. Lolz. The energy is not free and miners do pay the electricity bills, isnt it? That completely states the law to me, nothing is free, everything is conserved from one form of energy to another, tell them the basics of physics.


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CoinEraser
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August 23, 2018, 03:46:22 PM
 #10

We as supporters of bitcoin already know that it's totally a false allegation over bitcoin that it consumed the highest electrical energy for mining operations.Critics just want to target bitcoin by any means.Also even if it consumed higher energy,its not related to coal and mostly hydro electric power.

Such accusations are really trying to undermine Bitcoins reputation. Many of my friends have asked me if these accusations are true. Luckily I could tell them again and again that such statements about Bitcoin are not true. Printing and producing fiat money consumes more electricity worldwide than Bitcoin. The process alone of melting down metals and thus minting coins consumes a large amount of electricity. People don't think about that. So I can refute the statement that Bitcoin is a power guzzler.  Smiley

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August 23, 2018, 04:11:21 PM
 #11

While the majority of the mining power is concentrated in China and most of these miners utilize hydroelectric power, the rest of the world remains on using coal as their primary source of electricity and that's still a significant amount of carbon emission to think of. While I do believe that adds up to the problems of this world, many so-called 'experts' are singling out bitcoin in this issue of carbon emission, completely turning a blind eye on petrol products, cars and other industries which pretty much uses more power than what half of the bitcoin network is using. If all miners can have their hands on clean and green electricity, they'd do it since they'd be hitting multiple birds in one stone: cost-effective, cheap and the general temperature is apt for the machines' running condition, 24/7.

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August 23, 2018, 04:22:52 PM
 #12

Nothing is perfect or defect free in this world. If you reap the advantages of bitcoin mining, then you must also be prepared for the negative aspect of it. I don't disagree with the fact that bitcoin mining does not consume much of energy or is bad for the environment. But the thing is if the efforts are being made to shift to some renewable sources is made, as mentioned earlier also, then there would be some relief. Obviously this is not feasible immediately or on an overnight phenomenon. It will take some time.

PS: Crypto can become environment friendly if appropriate steps are taken.
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August 23, 2018, 05:49:11 PM
 #13

It seems reasonable that increasing electricity consumption itself is not a problem. Bitcoin miners are not making the wastes compared to those of big plants anyway. The whole world should just slowly turn to using natural sources (water, wind, sun) more to obtain electricity without harming the environment. Burning coal is not cool, but there are other ways. I agree that we should rather blame those offering bad ways of getting electricity, rather than electricity itself. Electricity itself is considered to be an eco-friendly way of getting energy in some spheres (transport, for instance) anyway. And even in this way of polluting stuff, bitcoin is taking like less than 1%, at the same time providing real value.

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August 23, 2018, 06:55:54 PM
 #14

We as supporters of bitcoin already know that it's totally a false allegation over bitcoin that it consumed the highest electrical energy for mining operations.Critics just want to target bitcoin by any means.Also even if it consumed higher energy,its not related to coal and mostly hydro electric power.
If they do, does nuclear electricity save more? I'm also wondering. If for mining machine to near nuclear power. And can they be combined? Of course it is far from human. In order not to be affected by magnetic waves, ... If so then we have nothing to worry about energy.

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August 24, 2018, 11:00:58 AM
 #15

Also lets not forget that the way energy is produced is changing recently.
I understand we used to have coal energy anywhere in the energy sector but recently stuff like solar and wind has been garnering more attention and solar energy has been getting a lot cheaper, in USA where there are suborbian areas (the house by house neighborhoods you see on movies) people have been putting up solar panels as their roofs and those roofs have been garnering energy without costing anything aside from the initial cost, and in return makes that home run on free energy.

If you do that on bitcoin you are basically spending a lot of capital on a miner facility at the start but after that all of your energy costs goes to zero.

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August 24, 2018, 11:48:14 AM
 #16

We as supporters of bitcoin already know that it's totally a false allegation over bitcoin that it consumed the highest electrical energy for mining operations.Critics just want to target bitcoin by any means.Also even if it consumed higher energy,its not related to coal and mostly hydro electric power.

This is so true, as a matter of fact bitcoim helps the economy to grow and also non- renewable sources are not the only source of energy, therefore we cannot blame the bitcoim for this. Im fact bitcoin gives more benifit. Do energy can give food to the poor? We can think logical with this. Things need to be analyzed deeply.

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August 24, 2018, 12:57:20 PM
 #17

For me I am believing tha capability of bitcoin to sustain any odds that are encountered by bitcoin, so if bitcoin has poured some energy about this odds, we should not be worrying about it ,because bitcoin is strong and and can be trusted.

Don't worry mate as we know that this is another bullying on bitcoins popularity,they can't accept the market of cryptocurrency is overwhelming and will reached this far,so everyone is throwing stone to our community because of this happening.this allegations are only created to make negative impressions to cryptocurrency but the truth is we are not consuming that large amount of electricity

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August 24, 2018, 01:09:41 PM
 #18

We as supporters of bitcoin already know that it's totally a false allegation over bitcoin that it consumed the highest electrical energy for mining operations.Critics just want to target bitcoin by any means.Also even if it consumed higher energy,its not related to coal and mostly hydro electric power.

This is so true, as a matter of fact bitcoim helps the economy to grow and also non- renewable sources are not the only source of energy, therefore we cannot blame the bitcoim for this. Im fact bitcoin gives more benifit. Do energy can give food to the poor? We can think logical with this. Things need to be analyzed deeply.

Yes you are right, bitcoins will help the economy of the country to improve even more and that is the reason why china is legalizing cryptocurrency in their own country.
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August 24, 2018, 03:31:09 PM
 #19

These are articles that should be promoted for those who are bent on looking for every excuse to attack bitcoin that the excuse they now have is about the electricity consumed when all other arguments have failed them. The unique flaw in their argument is that is giving credence to their myopic view, they compare the global utilization of energy of bitcoin against the consumption of energy of one industry, region or country just to make an argument.

In comparison with total consumption of energy globally, the article made mention of 2% which is minute and believing with the continual development in the area of energy development and consumption, this is expected to fall lower that in the long run, it would only be an unsubstantiated fear.
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August 24, 2018, 03:40:41 PM
 #20

I know, the whole energy argument is stupid.  Just think about all the electricity the banking and credit card systems use (office buildings, employees driving to work, etc)

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