Cryptocurrency is not an eco-friendly payment alternative. Demanding more than 70 TWh per year, Bitcoin now uses more energy than Switzerland, Colombia and the Czech Republic.
As of the 22nd May 2018, Bitcoin’s current annual electricity consumption is conservatively estimated at 66.08 TWh per year, finds Bitcoin analyst blog Digiconomist. And that estimate is based on computers mining at the best of times... the real figure will be much more.
Compared with the number of global non-cash payments, which handles 6,800 times more digital transactions per day than Bitcoin, cryptocurrency transactions still requires 3,400 times more energy than an average non-cash transaction.
Bitcoin doesn’t replace cash.
Needless to say, the countless number of hand-to-hand cash transactions requires arugably zero electrical power.
[Bitcoin] is a winner-takes-all game, where the prize is guaranteed to be paid to one, and only one, miner every 10 minutes. Burning more electricity increases your chances of winning, but correspondingly decreases everyone else’s – and so they have a motivation to burn more electricity in turn.
The cryptocurrency uses as much CO2 a year as 1m transatlantic flights. We need to take it seriously as a climate threat
The most conservative method we could possibly use to estimate Bitcoin’s energy consumption is by simply taking the total network computational power, and divide this number by the computational power of the most efficient Bitcoin mining machines.
[...This] doesn’t include any of the additional cooling in a large-scale mining operation, older generations of mining machines, or any of the half a billion people who might be mining Bitcoin without even knowing it (the latter isn’t part of the Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index either), but it provides a lower bound that is still 200,000 times more than an average VISA transaction.