Bitcoin’s recent rise and coverage missed out one of the more interesting and unintended consequences, the surge in global electricity. Bitcoin mining is now using more electricity than 159 individual countries.
That’s the equivalent of 0.13% of total global electricity consumption. While that may not sound like a lot, it means Bitcoin mining is now using more electricity than 159 individual countries (as you can see from the map above). More than Ireland or Nigeria. If Bitcoin miners were a country they’d rank 61st in the world in terms of electricity consumption. Here are a few other interesting facts about Bitcoin mining and electricity consumption:
- In the past month alone, Bitcoin mining electricity consumption is estimated to have increased by 29.98%
- If it keeps increasing at this rate, Bitcoin mining will consume all the world’s electricity by February 2020.
- Estimated annualized global mining revenues: $7.2 billion USD (£5.4 billion)
- Estimated global mining costs: $1.5 billion USD (£1.1 billion)
- Number of Americans who could be powered by bitcoin mining: 2.4 million (more than the population of Houston)
- Number of Britons who could be powered by bitcoin mining: 6.1 million (more than the population of Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester, Bradford, Liverpool, Bristol, Croydon, Coventry, Leicester & Nottingham combined) Or Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
- Bitcoin Mining consumes more electricity than 12 US states (Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming)
All maps created using Mapchart.net. For the full breakdown of data, please keep reading.
Bitcoin Mining Electricity Consumption Vs Countries
The map at the top of the page shows, which countries currently consume more or less electricity than that consumed by global Bitcoin mining. The map below shows how much more or less bitcoin mining energy consumption compares to each countries energy usage with 100% being equal. E.g. Ireland currently consumes an estimated 25 TWh of electricity per year, so global Bitcoin mining consumption is 116%, or 16% more than they consume. The UK consumes an estimated 309 TWh of electricity per year so global Bitcoin mining consumption is only equivalent to 9.4% of the UK total.
As mentioned, above the data for Bitcoin mining energy consumption comes from the Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index. You can read about their assumptions here. Electricity consumption data mostly comes from the CIA via Wikipedia and is mostly for 2014, since that’s the most recent year available. Unlike some other sources it includes, residential, commercial and industrial use, so may be higher than other figures quoted elsewhere. While Bitcoin Mining is only currently consuming 0.13% of the world’s electricity output, it’s growing incredibly quickly. The Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index estimates consumption has increased by 29.98% over the past month. If that growth rate were to continue, and countries did not add any new power generating capacity, Bitcoin mining would:
- Be greater than UK electricity consumption by October 2018 (309 TWh)
- Be greater than US electricity consumption by July 2019 (3,913 TWh)
- Consume all the world’s electricity by February 2020. (21,776 TWh)