One of the best ways to earn Bitcoin is by the process known as mining. However, Bitcoin mining is an investment – it starts with buying mining equipment and paying your electricity bills afterward (which are higher than the normal ones). As more miners join the Bitcoin network, some fear that the electricity consumed by mining will have a negative impact on the environment – and others are strong believers that the benefits of Bitcoin mining outweigh the cost to produce the digital currency.
As you probably know, Bitcoin mining is a process of producing new BTC where computers expand their energy and computational resources to solve a difficult math problem. The miner who solves the math problem adds the block to the blockchain and receives newly minted Bitcoin.
Currently, the Bitcoin network consumes about 2.55 gigawatts (GW) of electricity per year. Now, to put things into comparison, the entire country of Ireland has an average electricity consumption of 3.1 GW.
According to one data consultant and blockchain specialist named Alex De Vries, the amount of energy that Bitcoin mining consumes is problematic. As he found in a recent study, the average amount of electricity per Bitcoin transaction is 300 KwH. On top of that, as new miners are joining the network (and the mining difficulty increases) this number will reach 900 KwH by the end of 2018.
As he told Cointelegraph:
“We know that mining is done with coal-electricity, but also with renewable energy. In the latter case, we don’t know what we are displacing, plus renewable energy never has zero lifetime carbon footprint either. There’s more work to be done here, but there’s certainly an impact. The more energy Bitcoin uses, the more it will impact the environment for sure – which in turn will impact everyone. It’s not helping us reach our climate goals.”
Electricity costs already put a lot of miners in search of a cheaper source of energy. This fact, alone, tells us that while Bitcoin mining may still be worth it for some – it is slowly going to a dead-end street for the average people who are not much into it (or not willing to sacrifice for it).
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