The world’s top cryptocurrency, bitcoin, is set to consume some 95.68 TW/h (terawatt-hours, or one trillion watts per hour) by the end of the year, according to the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index.
That’s about the same as the power consumption of the Philippines.
According to a Bloomberg report, the bitcoin network will have consumed 91 TW/h by the end of the year, and it has already consumed more than the 67 TW/h estimated for all of 2020.
A separate study by Science Direct found that bitcoin miners “cycle through a growing amount of short-lived hardware that could exacerbate the growth in global electronic waste.”
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The Science Direct report also suggested that “bitcoin could produce up to 64.4 metric kilotons [64,400 tons] of e-waste at peak bitcoin price levels seen in early 2021.”
E-waste generally refers to discarded computer equipment and electronics.
Bitcoin accounts for about 0.11% of the estimated global total for e-waste in 2021, which is 57.4 million metric tons, according to Statista. As a percentage of the total global electricity consumption, bitcoin mining accounts for just 0.43%. That is less than the estimated 104 TW/h used by refrigerators in the US alone, according to Cambridge University.
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