Bitcoin uses more energy than some countries

Asia's Tech News Daily

Bitcoin uses more energy than some countries

Rigs at the CryptoUniverse cryptocurrency mining farm in Russia in March.

(NYTIMES) – Cryptocurrencies have emerged as one of the most captivating, yet head-scratching, investments in the world. They soar in value. They crash. They’ll change the world, their fans claim, by displacing traditional currencies like the dollar, rupee or ruble.

And in the process of simply existing, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, one of the most popular, use astonishing amounts of electricity.

The process of creating Bitcoin consumes around 96 terawatt-hours of electricity annually, more than is used by the Philippines, a nation of about 110 million.

That usage, which is close to half a per cent of all the electricity consumed in the world, has increased about tenfold in just the past five years.

The Bitcoin network uses about the same amount of electricity as Washington state does in a year. And more than one-third of what residential cooling in the United States uses up. Indeed, it uses up more than seven times as much electricity as all of Google’s global operations.

Why is it so energy-intensive?

For a long time, money has been thought of as something you can hold in your hand – say, a dollar bill. A government prints some paper and guarantees its value. On the Internet, things can get more complicated.

In 2008, an unknown person or persons using the name Satoshi Nakamoto published a proposal to create a cash-like electronic payment system that would do exactly that: cut out the middlemen. That’s the origin of Bitcoin.

Bitcoin users wouldn’t have to trust a third party – a bank, a government or whatever – because transactions would be managed by a decentralised network of Bitcoin users. In other words, no single person or entity could control it.

All Bitcoin transactions would be openly accounted for in a public ledger that anyone could examine, and new bitcoins would be created as a reward to participants for helping to manage this vast, sprawling, computerised ledger. But the ultimate supply of bitcoins would be limited. The idea was that growing demand over time would give bitcoins their value.

Today, a single bitcoin is worth about US$45,000 – although that could vary wildly by the time you read this – and no one can stop you from sending it to whomever you like.

However, as it happens, managing a digital currency of that value with no central authority takes a whole lot of computing power.

It starts with a transaction

Let’s say you want to buy something and pay with Bitcoin. The first part is quick and easy: You would open an account with a Bitcoin exchange like Coinbase, which lets you purchase Bitcoin with dollars. You now have a “digital wallet” with some Bitcoin in it. To spend it, you simply send Bitcoin into the digital wallet of the person you’re buying something from.

But that transaction must first be validated by the Bitcoin network. This gets to the very heart of the whole Bitcoin bookkeeping system: the maintenance of the vast Bitcoin public ledger. And this is where much of the electrical energy gets consumed.

A global guessing game begins

All around the world, companies and individuals known as Bitcoin miners are competing to be the ones to validate transactions and enter them into the public ledger of all Bitcoin transactions. They basically play a guessing game, using powerful, and power-hungry, computers to try to beat out others. Because if they are successful, they’re rewarded with newly created Bitcoin, which of course is worth a lot of money.

This competition for newly created Bitcoin is called “mining”. An article published by Braiins, a Bitcoin mining company, provides a good analogy: Imagine you’re at a casino and everyone playing has a die with 500 sides. The winner is the first person to roll a number under 10.

The more computer power you have, the more guesses you can make quickly. So, unlike at the casino, where you have just one die to roll at human speed, you can have many computers making many, many guesses every second.

That’s why Bitcoin miners now have warehouses packed with powerful computers, racing at top speed to guess big numbers and using tremendous quantities of energy in the process.

The winner of the guessing game validates a standard “block” of Bitcoin transactions, and is rewarded for doing so with 6.25 newly minted bitcoins, each worth about US$45,000. So you can see why people might flock into mining.

Growing energy appetite

Bitcoin mining means more than just emissions. Hardware piles up, too. Everyone wants the newest, fastest machinery, which causes high turnover and a new e-waste problem. Mr Alex de Vries, a Paris-based economist, estimates that every year and a half or so, the computational power of mining hardware doubles, making older machines obsolete. According to his calculations, at the start of this year, Bitcoin alone was generating more e-waste than many mid-sized countries.

“Bitcoin miners are completely ignoring this issue, because they don’t have a solution,” said Mr de Vries, who runs Digiconomist, a site that tracks the sustainability of cryptocurrencies. “These machines are just dumped.”

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related

OTHER NEWS

One provision of the child tax credit that Democrats are fighting to make permanent may slash poverty by 19%

Mother Ladayna Jordan, left, leads her children, Alayna, Aedan, Aaliyah and Ahmier Davis, left to right, to the front door of Normont Elementary School on the first day of in ... Read more »

Things are looking up on the money side for Singaporeans: OCBC survey

SINGAPORE- After a year of pandemic-induced money struggles, Singaporeans are beginning to see a ray of hope about their financial affairs, says the third instalment of an annual survey by ... Read more »

If you don't get a 5% raise this year, you aren't necessarily taking a pay cut due to inflation. Here's why

HOUSTON, TEXAS – JUNE 09: Employees speak together at a Chipotle Mexican Grill on June 09, 2021 in Houston, Texas. Menu prices at the Chipotle Mexican Grill have risen by ... Read more »

The ‘Great Resignation' is altering the workforce dynamic — maybe for good

Sara Adamski Courtesy: Sara Adamski After the Covid-19 pandemic hit, Sara Adamski knew she had to make a job change. At the time, the 26-year-old was a cook in a ... Read more »

How to become an entrepreneur — while you're still in college

As the founder and director of two entrepreneurship-focused programs at Stevens Institute of Technology, Launchpad and iSTEM, I have overseen the creation of 12 officially incorporated enterprises, with many more on the way. It took about three years ... Read more »

From Buy Nothing to Freecycle, gifting groups help bolster budgets and build community

kate_sept2004 | E+ | Getty Images When Sherose Badruddin, 38, joined her local Buy Nothing group in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, five years ago, she did it purely to save ... Read more »

Will business travel be the same again?

(REUTERS) – The unprecedented halt to air travel during the Covid-19 pandemic cut planet-warming emissions, saved companies billions of dollars in tickets, and benefited staff who can lose weeks of ... Read more »

How to negotiate the salary for your first job offer

Getting your first job offer is exciting — joining the full-time workforce can mean a salary, benefits, and a path to financial independence.  But before jumping to accept an offer, ... Read more »

Here's what your monthly budget will look like if you retire with $750,000

There are an endless number of strategies that you can use to plan your retirement. Cashing out a set percentage of your investments every year once you retire can be ... Read more »

Ways to protect your health coverage from life's uncertainties

Manulife’s health and insurance plans, like LifeReady Plus (II), can help you plan for every stage of your life, with coverage that is customised to your needs. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES ... Read more »

Here's the strategy this couple used to save $1.3 million and retire in their 30s

You've probably heard of “The Great Resignation” at this point. Justin McCurry was what some would call an early adopter. He and his wife planned to retire from their jobs ... Read more »

'We don't regulate euphoria,' says former SEC chairman Jay Clayton, who breaks down why social media will likely continue to influence investing

Jay Clayton speaking at the 2019 Delivering Alpha conference in New York.Adam Jeffery | CNBC Social media frenzies have encouraged retail investors to jump into meme stocks and certain cryptocurrencies, ... Read more »

Wealthy Singapore investors thinking of relocating family members: Survey

SINGAPORE – More wealthy Singapore-based investors are thinking of relocating family members either to the Republic or elsewhere than their peers in the region, according to a report out on ... Read more »

6 budget hacks to get your financial life on track

Getty Images The idea of making a budget may make your eyes glaze over. Yet it is fundamental to achieving financial wellness. “It's really hard to make any plan or ... Read more »

Envy Global's Ng Yu Zhi slapped with 18 more charges over billion-dollar nickel trading scheme

SINGAPORE – Businessman Ng Yu Zhi, who is embroiled in one of Singapore’s biggest investment fraud schemes, was slapped with 18 more charges over his role in a nickel trading ... Read more »

How billionaire Charles Munger got into properties

(BLOOMBERG) – Billionaire investor Charles Munger made a well-timed bet on suburban apartments in California – thanks to a neighbourhood teenager who showed up at his house with a Hebrew ... Read more »

Robinhood takes aim at college students

(NYTIMES) – Robinhood, the free stock-trading app with 21 million active users and counting, is about to hit the road for a college coffee house tour to drum up new ... Read more »

What has changed about the wealthy

Deck: Inheritors are shaking off the stereotype of the do-nothing trust fund kind Paul Sullivan (NYTIMES) – I began writing the Wealth Matters column in December 2008. The column was ... Read more »

Greenwashing threat grows with rise of sustainable investing

The growing threat of greenwashing in sustainable investing could result in resources and attention being diverted away from the world’s pressing sustainability needs. If you are among the growing number ... Read more »

As fears about inflation increase, here's how to protect your portfolio

Experts are sounding the alarm about inflation, and that has Americans worried about their retirement. Billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones told CNBC Wednesday that inflation poses a major ... Read more »

Suze Orman: Don't get a joint bank account. Here's how couples should budget their money

Money can be a sore subject in any relationship. Sharing bank accounts with your partner may make your budget issues even worse, according to Suze Orman, host of the “Women ... Read more »

The Great Resignation: Why millions of workers are quitting

Americans are leaving their jobs in droves. In August 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs. While some people have left the workforce entirely, job security and better pay are top ... Read more »

These are the top 10 retirement spots in the U.S.

Anya Berkut | Getty Images The Covid-19 pandemic has changed how many Americans view their retirement, whether it is pushing it back or starting it earlier than planned. Yet one ... Read more »

The Great Resignation may lead companies to offer employees financial wellness benefits

Pekic | E+ | Getty Images American workers are financially stressed and employers are starting to listen. Whether it is a response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the threat of losing ... Read more »

Signs of severe overpricing in key US markets

(NYTIMES) – The prices of stocks, bonds and real estate, the three major asset classes in the United States, are all extremely high. In fact, the three have never been ... Read more »

These homes are built with big 3D printers

A row of 3D printed homes in Nacajuca, Mexico. (NYTIMES) – Mr Pedro Garcia Hernandez is a carpenter in the south-eastern Mexican state of Tabasco, a rainforest-shrouded region of the ... Read more »

Retiring with $500,000: How much money you'll have in your monthly budget

Nobody wants to run out of money in retirement. Experts recommend taking up to 4% of your total nest egg annually in retirement as a way to make your funds ... Read more »

A majority of Hispanics aren't saving for retirement. Lack of financial knowledge is a factor, expert says

BraunS | E+ | Getty Images Many Hispanic Americans aren't saving enough — or at all — for retirement. More than two-third of Hispanic households aren't putting aside anything through ... Read more »

Here's how much your Social Security check will increase in 2022

Social Security beneficiaries will see a 5.9% increase to their monthly checks in 2022. That's much more than the 1.3% adjustment made for 2021, and the largest increase since a ... Read more »

3 lessons for first-time investors from a financial advisor

Individuals need to take control of their money, and while the pandemic upended the personal finances of many Americans, it also has made many more people aware of the need ... Read more »

Junior Achievement and CNBC host students to discuss sustainability, alternative energy and the health of the environment

Featuring the next generation of young leaders, CNBC and Junior Achievement explore the role of entrepreneurship, social enterprise, corporate social responsibility and the future of work while creating a more ... Read more »

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona says personal finance lessons should start as early as possible

There's a growing push for students to get personal financial education in high school. But, according to U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, that might not be early enough. “When ... Read more »

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on mask mandates, student loan forgiveness and financial education in elementary schools

Current Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona joins CNBC's Senior Personal Finance Correspondent Sharon Epperson to discuss his strategy on starting financial education earlier in schools, community college as a way ... Read more »

How financial empowerment helped one woman rise up from poverty

For poet and educator Jessica Helen Lopez, empowerment and financial knowledge go hand-in-hand. Lopez, who lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and was the city's poet laureate from 2014 to 2016, ... Read more »

Celebrity chef Guy Fieri: Put these 3 foods on your grocery list if you want to start cooking on a budget

Cooking at home can be an obvious choice for anyone tightening up their budget. But if you're not careful, you may find yourself cooking and eating the same dish every ... Read more »

The Straits Times Invest bags award for community investor education

SINGAPORE – Managing personal debt and building a retirement nest egg can often be complicated tasks for the man on the street to grasp, but these are some of the ... Read more »

Property no longer the best retirement investment in S'pore: DBS report

The DBS report also showed that the average property price per square foot has jumped 50 per cent since 2010. SINGAPORE – Property has long been seen as a pot ... Read more »

Banks cashing in on ESG bonds amid climate crisis

About US$750 billion worth of ESG-related bonds have been issued this year, compared with US$468 billion during all of 2020. (BLOOMBERG) – While many banks have been condemned for contributing ... Read more »

Future of work should mean working less

To limit work’s negative moral effects on people, we should set harder limits on working hours. (NYTIMES) – A dozen years ago, my friend Patricia Nordeen was an ambitious academic, ... Read more »

When frequent floods make insurance costly

A storm-damaged house at a busted levee on the beach after Hurricane Ida swept through early last month in Grand Isle, Louisiana. (NYTIMES) – Climate change is going to hit ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic