A new analysis by the New York Times revealed the extent of the high energy consumption mining Bitcoin entails.
The process of mining Bitcoin, in which complex math algorithms must be solved to create and award new Bitcoin, is a highly energy-intensive process. Each year, mining Bitcoin is responsible for the consumption of about 91 terawatt-hours of electricity, which is more than the entire annual electricity use of Finland.
This constitutes about 0.5 percent total global electricity consumption, which The New York Times notes is 10 times higher than it was five years ago.
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When put in relation to Google, under the parent company of Alphabet Inc., one of the world’s largest technology companies, bitcoin’s annual energy consumption is more than seven times that of Google’s annual global operations.
Efforts are underway to streamline more sustainable Bitcoin mining, such as through the use of hydroelectricity in areas such as Sweden or Norway. However, these efforts are not yet widespread or common.
As of April 2020, about 65 percent of Bitcoin was mined in China, which largely burns coal for electricity, according to Statista.
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