Tesla’s disclosure of buying $ 1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin has seen the cryptocurrency’s estimated power consumption soar to new levels.
Cambridge University’s Center for Alternative Finance is trying to keep track of Bitcoin’s energy consumption. While the exact consumption can never be known, a guess can be made by keeping track of the total number of hashes produced by miners and examining the efficiency of bitcoin mining machines. The hash rate is the unit of measure for the processing power of the Bitcoin network.
With an estimated 121.9 terawatt hours per year, Bitcoin now requires more electricity than Argentina, the United Arab Emirates or the Netherlands for the whole of 2016. According to calculations by the University of Cambridge, one year of Bitcoin electricity consumption could power all of the UK’s tea kettles for 27 years .
With Bitcoin BTCUSD up 6.07%, rising to $ 48,219 on Tuesday, the day after electric car maker Tesla TSLA announced its -1.62% investment in the cryptocurrency, it is more profitable to use less efficient devices.
About two thirds of all bitcoins are mined in China, one third of them in Xinjiang, where there is cheap coal power. The second largest center for Chinese Bitcoin is in Sichuan, home of the Three Gorges Dam, the largest hydroelectric power plant in existence.
According to data from the University of Cambridge, the USA comes in second with only 7%, followed by Russia and Kazakhstan.