Tue. Jul 16th, 2019

consumes more electricity than all of Switzerland


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In recent weeks, probably driven by the launch of Libra, the virtual currency of the social network Facebook, BitCoin has experienced a increase in its value. According to data from the CoinBase platform, on June 26 the digital currency exceeded the price of 12,000 euros per unit, a value four times higher than at the beginning of the year, when it decreased to 3,000 euros per piece. For this reason, the issue of cryptocurrencies, forgotten since its 'boom' in 2018, returns to occupy space in technological and financial publications.

One of the most striking aspects of digital currencies is the amount of electricity needed for transactions of purchase and sale can be carried out. In these, which are carried out through a process known as mining, voluntary Internet users record the movements of the market in a decentralized way thanks to the Blockchain technology. This is the process that causes BitCoin's energy consumption, estimated by University of Cambridge in 61.9 terawatts per hour per year, is superior to that of many industrialized countries, such as Switzerland, with an expenditure of 58.5 terawatts per hour based on 2016 figures.

It is estimated that at this time the cryptocurrency consumes 6.81 gigawatts (GW), since it is a data that It is updated every 30 seconds. This translates to 60.45 TWh per year. In this way, it has been estimated that the bitcoin consumes more electricity than whole countries such as Switzerland, Kuwait, Algeria and Greece. The Bitcoin network consumes more electricity per year than all of Switzerland, according to Statista.

The University of Cambridge estimates put Bitco in 43rd place when compared to the electricity consumption of the rest of the countries, just behind the Czech Republic. Spain is in the 15th position with a consumption of 239.5 TWh. The study also estimates that if compared to total global electricity consumption, which is 20,863 TWh, the bitcoin represents 0.28 percent. A percentage that drops slightly if reference is made to total electricity production, which is 25,082 TWh, where 'bitcoin' accounts for 0.24 percent.

The index has been developed as a response to "Growing concerns about the sustainability and environmental impact of the bitcoin mining", according to the British institution.

The cryptocurrency mining is supported by very powerful computing operations, so the teams that perform this task need "significant amount of electricity". With these data, the CBECI deduces that the electricity produced by all types of renewable energy worldwide could cover, separately, the electricity cost of the Bitcoin network. In this way, world production of hydroelectric power (4,164 TWh) would cover 69 times the consumption of the Bitcoin network; that of biofuels and waste (577 TWh) would cover 10 times the energy of the bitcoin; and the solar, wind and other, of 1,405 TWh, would suppose 23 times the cost of the cryptocurrency. With these data, the CBECI deduces that the electricity produced by all types of renewable energies worldwide could cover, separately, the electricity cost of the Bitcoin network, reports Ep.

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