Bitcoin is huge; a massive leap from what it was like in its inception in 2009. While altcoins are surely starting to catch up to it, Bitcoin is still worth far more than the rest, having managed to accumulate billions of dollars in value thus far.
With it being so insanely large, common sense comes to the conclusion that it takes plenty of work to maintain Bitcoin. However, people often underestimate just how much energy goes into keeping it functional. Before we get to that though, we will first see where all this power comes from.
The large energy drain of Bitcoin is largely due to a process called mining.
Mining refers to the creation of records of completed transactions on so-called blocks within a crypto’s blockchain. Finding and using these blocks takes time and energy, but also strengthens the blockchain against attacks and serves to prove that energy has been invested in keeping it up to scratch. Mining a block also yields cryptocurrency, so the incentive to continue doing it is clear.
As a result, miners are locked in a sort of arms race to extract as much Bitcoin as they can. That naturally leads to more and more energy being used for faster results. Things have gone so far that now your average Joe stands very little chance of “striking gold”. Competition has become so intense that entire warehouses are dedicated to storing mining hardware meant to track blocks.
These mining facilities, when tallied up, consume a jaw-dropping amount of power. So much power goes into the process of mining that its energy output is greater than that of many countries! For such a recent piece of technology, it’s an insane amount of energy to take.
This power-devouring understandably makes people feel a tad uneasy. After all, if it took so little time to get to this point, who knows how far things will go in the future? Concerning though it may be, this practice shows no signs of stopping yet.
If you wish to find out more about how much energy goes into Bitcoin, take a look at this insightful infographic below.
This terrific infographic by Btxchange.io lays out all the numbers for you – how much energy has been used by Bitcoin since 2017, how that amount fares against the energy consumption of various countries, as well as future forecasts for Bitcoin’s power demands. The numbers may surprise or shock you.