Bitcoin’s ongoing meteoric price rise has received the bulk of recent press attention with a lot of discussion around whether or not it’s a bubble waiting to burst.
However, most the coverage has missed out one of the more interesting and unintended consequences of this price increase. That is the surge in global electricity consumption used to “mine” more Bitcoins.
According to Digiconomist’s Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index, as of Monday November 20th, 2017 Bitcoin’s current estimated annual electricity consumption stands at 29.05TWh.
That’s the equivalent of 0.13% of total global electricity consumption. While that may not sound like a lot, it means Bitcoin mining is now using more electricity than 159 individual countries (as you can see from the map above). More than Ireland or Nigeria.
If Bitcoin miners were a country they’d rank 61st in the world in terms of electricity consumption.
Here are a few other interesting facts about Bitcoin mining and electricity consumption:
In the past month alone, Bitcoin mining electricity consumption is estimated to have increased by 29.98%
If it keeps increasing at this rate, Bitcoin mining will consume all the world’s electricity by February 2020.
Estimated annualised global mining revenues: $7.2 billion USD (£5.4 billion)
Estimated global mining costs: $1.5 billion USD (£1.1 billion)
Number of Americans who could be powered by bitcoin mining: 2.4 million (more than the population of Houston)
Number of Britons who could be powered by bitcoin mining: 6.1 million (more than the population of Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester, Bradford, Liverpool, Bristol, Croydon, Coventry, Leicester & Nottingham combined)
Bitcoin Mining consumes more electricity than 12 US states (Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming)
All maps created using Mapchart.net. For the full breakdown of data, please keep reading.