Bitcoin consumes more electricity than Argentina, UAE and the Netherlands

11th February 2021 | Commercial Energy

If Bitcoin were a country, it would be in the top 30 energy users worldwide, consuming more electricity than Argentina. That’s according to analysis by Cambridge University’s online tool, which showed that the virtual coin uses around 121.36 terawatt-hours (TWh) per year. This is above Argentina, which is at 121 TWh, the Netherlands which consumes 108,8 TWh and the United Arab Emirates (113.20 TWh). Bitcoin is also gradually creeping up on Norway, which stands at 122.20 TWh.

Mining the virtual coin involves heavy computer calculations to verify transactions. Bitcoin’s annual electricity consumption is unlikely to fall unless the value of the currency drops, as the price increases so does the energy consumption, researchers at the Cambridge Centre said.


“Bitcoin is literally anti-efficient,” David Gerard, author of the 50 Foot Blockchain told BBC News. “So more efficient hardware won’t help – it’ll just be competing against other efficient mining hardware. This means that Bitcoin’s energy use, and hence its OS2 production, only spirals outwards. It’s very bad that all this energy is being literally wasted in a lottery.

The cryptocurrency hit a record high of $48,000 (34,861) a coin this week after Tesla founder Elon Musk announced that the company had bought about $1.5bn Bitcoin. He added that Tesla expects to “begin accepting bitcoin as a form of payment for [its] products in the near future, subject to applicable laws and initially on a limited basis, which [it] may or may not liquidate upon receipt.”

It is currently 6% higher on Thursday at $47,780. Previously, tweets by Tesla CEO Elon Musk have fuelled the Bitcoin price. The move “highlights the power that Elon Musk has in shaping price action and moving markets. He’s now putting his money (shareholders’) where his mouth is,” noted Neil Wilson chief market analyst for Meanwhile, the price of dogecoin has also surged in recent weeks after Mush began tweeting about it. The rise has coincided with a surge of populism in financial markets around the world.

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