Bitcoin, along with other cryptocurrencies, has been criticized for price volatility, high and variable transaction costs, poor security and use in illegal transactions. It has also been lambasted for the amount of electricity it devours through mining, a term that refers to the process whereby new Bitcoins are added to the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
Mining involves the calculation of complex mathematical equations and it is extremely energy intensive, requiring powerful and expensive computer equipment. Data from the University of Cambridge’s Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index shows that the Bitcoin network now consumes a whopping 142.59 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity each year, a figure that is higher than many countries.
Putting the figure into perspective, it could power all of the kettles used to boil water in the United Kingdom and the European Union for 32 years and 4.5 years, respectively. It also represents 0.57% of global electricity production and accounts for 0.65% of global electricity consumption. In fact, if Bitcoin was a country, it would be the 27th largest consumer of electricity on the planet in May 2021. Its annual electricity consumption is higher than Norway’s 124 TWh and more than twice the level of Bangladesh’s 70 TWh.
It is also substantially higher than the amount of electricity used by some of the world’s largest technology companies. According to a further comparison carried out by Visual Capitalist, Google’s
*Click below to enlarge (charted by Statista)