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Bitcoin Exceeds Switzerland's Energy Use

Paul Rubens - July 4, 2019 - 08:07 AM
Bitcoin Exceeds Switzerland's Energy Use
The Bitcoin network is now a very energy-inefficient way of processing financial transactions.

(CCM) — Bitcoin is now being mined with such intensity in "farms" around the world that the cryptocurrency is now responsible for more energy consumption than the whole of Switzerland, the BBC is reporting.

The BBC quotes figures from a new online tool produced at the University of Cambridge, which estimates that Bitcoin consumes about 59 Terrawatt hours (TWh) of energy per year, slightly more than the 58 TWh consumed by Switzerland and just less than the 62 TWh consumed by the Czech Republic.

The Bitcoin figure equates to about 0.21 per cent of the world electricity supply, or about the same power as would be generated by seven advanced gas-cooled reactor (AGR) nuclear power plants.

Despite consuming more energy than all of the banks in the world put toghether, the Bitcoin network processes fewer than 100 million financial transactions per year, compared to the 500 billion transactions per year carried out by the traditional financial services industry, the report says.

The carbon dioxide emissions caused by generating energy for Bitcoin are estimated to be about 22 megatons per year, which is about the same as the whole of Kansas City.

The value of Bitcoin crashed from its peak of $17,000 in January 2018 to about $3,500 twelve months later, but has since rallied to almost $12,000.

Image: © kaprik - Shutterstock.com
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