In our climate-conscious age, Bitcoin made the headlines in 2021 because data scientists at the University of Cambridge found that mining cryptocurrencies uses more electricity than Argentina.
According to an ongoing real-time University of Cambridge study (in collaboration with the Judge Business School and the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF)), which anyone can view here, Bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining consumes 134 terawatt-hours (as per February 27th, 2022).
Right now, mining cryptocurrencies is costing the planet the energy consumption of a whole new country. More specifically, one the size of Argentina, with a population of 45.4 million. Currently, 0.57% of global electricity production is consumed by those mining, verifying, and storing Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Imagine if mining cryptocurrencies were to hit the theoretical upper limit; the energy equivalent of four countries the size of Argentina? Or one whole fairly large new country that would sit above Bangladesh (164.7 million), and just below Nigeria, with 206.1 million people, with regard to energy consumption.
Nevertheless, as the sector continues to evolve and grow in popularity, we can expect miners everywhere to use renewable sources, and create new solutions to ensure that cryptocurrencies can be mined and stored without this industry having a negative impact on humanity’s carbon footprint and energy usage.