Alarming Study Suggests Bitcoin Consumes an Astonishing Amount of Energy and It’s Only Getting Worse

A data center.
Photo: BalticServers/Wikimedia

It takes a lot of electricity to mine bitcoins, and as more miners try to cash in on the crypto craze, the amount of energy required to win new coins increases accordingly. New research suggests the entire bitcoin network could consume as much as 7.7 gigawatts of electricity by the end of this year—enough to power a country the size of Austria. But the new analysis is not without its critics, who say there are many other factors to consider.

By the end of this year, bitcoin could use half a percent of the world’s electric energy, according to research published today in the science journal Joule. What’s more, if bitcoin’s value rises as high as some experts predict, the network could eventually consume upwards of five percent of the world’s electricity.

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