Energy consumption from Bitcoin mining is massive, and people are taking notice. The increases have been scaling fast, with mining energy usage quickly surpassing the totals of small countries. And many see this ever-increasing carbon footprint as a threat to climate change.
But it’s no threat. In fact, increasing energy usage might save the plant.
Bitcoin Mining Energy Consumption And Its Byproduct
In the early days of Bitcoin mining, you could mine with a laptop in your home. Simply set up a rig and let it run, and while it might get a little warm in the room and the energy bill might spike a bit, an early miner could be profitable. Back then, miners were only competing with other hobbyists or very small-time facilities.
But gone are the days when a single person could set up a rig in their house and competitively mine for Bitcoin. Today, in order to mine competitively, you need to be quick, big and powerful. This means having the most state-of-the-art hardware at scale to run algorithms the fastest. Massive data centers with thousands of rigs have now populated the competitive landscape of mining. Those with the highest-performing hardware, the most efficient software, the most well-run operations and the cheapest electricity will edge out the competition.
And that level of computing is going to churn out a lot of energy. It’s estimated that Bitcoin mining is producing 77 TWh of energy annually, which is comparable to the energy consumption of Chile.
Such high energy production, which is required to stay competitive, means that mining operations have to keep low energy costs a priority in their operations. Because crypto mining isn’t tied to a location, many mining operations are seeking out regions to build data centers that offer cheap, and ideally renewable, energy sources. Currently, sustainable energy sources like hydro and wind are not only the cleanest but the most cost effective for mining operations to…