Why does mining for bitcoin consume ‘insane’ energy?

Elon Musk says no more

Tesla chief Elon Musk has rocked the world of crypto fans after questioning whether digital currency is a valid option in the future, considering the carbon emissions that comes from bitcoin mining.

Powering a country

Since 2016, the power usage has been rising constantly in the endeavour of many to obtain bitcoins. This usage spiked sharply in 2020 to hit the current level that its at, at 149 TWh, which is the same amount of power Switzerland uses in a year.

No more bitcoin for Tesla

This number could worsen even further to 500 TWh in the future, as Tesla has announced that they will no longer accept digital currency as payment. Bitcoin has reached a $1 trillion market capitalization which has fueled the rise of mining all around the world.

Proof of work

Called “miners”, participants earn this cryptocurrency by solving complicated equations using processing power under the “proof of work” protocol, which was created in 2008 that wanted to decentralize digital currency. The system was created in a way that some bitcoin is awarded every 10 minute to someone who cracks the puzzle. But the rising interest in mining has massively increased power usage, which could compromise the world’s climate goals.

Change needed

To tackle the problem, some recommend moving away from the “proof of work” ideal to reduce energy consumption, although this is not likely because the network would become less secure.

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