Bitcoin accused of wasting shocking amount of electricity

Lots of discussion around these numbers, but an interesting debate nevertheless. The concept of blockchain - where everybody has a full record of all transactions ever - is based on the assumption that computing resources become ubiquitous and almost free. The energy impact will never be totally negligible though. _Citing estimates by the computer cooling firm Allied Control, Malmo says the total power consumption of the Bitcoin network is anywhere from 250 to 500 Megawatts (MW). Taking into account the total number of calculations the network can perform per second (hashrate) and the “generous miner efficiency” of 0.6 watts per gigahash, Malmo writes, the network’s constant power draw is just under 215 MW, or enough to power 173,000 average US households for a day._ _Taking his calculations a step further, Malmo compared Bitcoin’s power usage with that of VISA, the world’s largest payment processing network. Using the available data, he shows that VISA processed 58.5 billion transactions in 2013, using enough electricity to power 50,000 US households a day. That, he says, makes Bitcoin about 5,033 times more energy intensive per transaction._


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