Bitcoin Mining & Electricity

Bitcoin Mining & Electricity

Crazy Energy Uses You Probably Haven’t Realised!

It’s 2018 and most of us today probably have heard of cryptocurrencies and especially bitcoin. From its peak price of around $14,000 a coin to the underlying blockchain technology behind it, the world is buzzing with excitement on how it’s adoption could change the world as we know it!

Will we one day be purchasing our favorite chicken rice or roti prata with bitcoin?

Maybe selling cars or even houses could be done using bitcoin without involving banks or writing a single cheque.

While all these are might be fascinating to imagine, it is equally amazing to note that bitcoin mining today is just using a crazy amount of electricity and its impact on the environment is increasing at alarming rates.

So How Can We Get Bitcoins?

Perhaps the most accessible avenue for people to get a bitcoin is to buy it directly using our dollars or other cryptocurrencies out there in the market (like Ethereum), but at a cost of almost S$10,000 – who has that kind of money to spend on a digital currency hor!

There must be another way!

Enter Bitcoin Mining

All anyone needs to do is to turn on computer help verify ongoing payments in bitcoins within the blockchain network. You are basically using your computer and a special software to solve complex math problems and as a reward you get bitcoins.

In the early days of bitcoin around 2010, you could easily use your home computer to mine for bitcoins. But as time progressed (and as the price of bitcoin soared up), more individuals and even companies moved towards more professional means of bitcoin mining. We are talking about machines equipped with circuit chips and graphic cards designed specifically for bitcoin mining. And that means the electricity needed to run these machines have also skyrocketed.

You might be thinking – if there are more professional machines mining bitcoins, doesn’t that mean the reserves will dry up completely?

Not really, as each additional coin is mined, the math problem gets harder to solve and it will take more computing power and – you guessed it – much more electricity consumption!

The amount of electricity it would take to mine for a single bitcoin 5 years ago might be 10 times or more needed to mine bitcoin today, and that is not even counting in the serious amount of dollars you would need to invest in a professional mining hardware machine!

Mining’s Electricity Use Is Tremendous

In a recent study, it is estimated that the entire bitcoin network consumes about 2.55 gigawatts of electricity and can reach to 7.67 gigawatts by the end of the year – that’s enough energy to power a country the size of Austria!

Think about the amount of electricity used to power your home, it will take 9 days or 250 kWh worth of power for a single bitcoin transaction. But it gets even more frightening – by 2020, bitcoin mining could consume all the world’s electricity if it continues to increase at this rate!

Today itself, bitcoin mining is now using more electricity than 159 individual countries that include Morocco, Iceland and Ireland.

The Environmental Impact Is Serious Too

It is predicted that the bitcoin network emits about 7.7 million tons of carbon dioxide every year added on to the fact that bitcoin miners are increasingly moving to China where electricity prices are considerably lower than countries like the United States.

With cheap electricity and land in China also comes with it electricity generation from coal-powered plants that are inefficient and release enormous amounts of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

No wonder every year it’s getting hotter – part of the blame is due to bitcoin!

The Need For Renewable Energy

While it is anyone’s guess if bitcoin will continue to soar and be used globally or fade out of existence, it is undeniable that the world is becoming more technological. From more gadgets, yes that iPhone in your pocket, to new inventions and breakthroughs, the need for green energy is coming more urgent with every passing year.

If you are mining bitcoins in Singapore, maybe take some time and consider the environmental footprint you are having and choose to opt for green energy sources. This means your electricity supply is coming from renewable energy sources that include solar energy.

Let’s mine responsibly!