The digital currency Bitcoin annually consumes more electricity than the whole of Argentina. This is the result of an analysis by scientists at Cambridge University. Accordingly, the cryptocurrency consumes around 121.36 terawatt hours (TWh) per year. The whole of Argentina with its around 45 million inhabitants, on the other hand, uses only 121 TWh.
The scientists complain that the highly complex computing processes on more and more computers are consuming ever larger amounts of electricity.
The high power consumption of Bitcoins is inherent in the system and will only decline when the rate falls again, according to the scientists in a BBC report. According to calculations by the Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance, if the Bitcoin system were a state, it is among the 30 largest electricity-consuming countries.
Electricity consumption continues to rise
The author David Gerard sees the power consumption of the Bitcoin system continue to rise, and the associated CO2 emissions from the cryptocurrency. “It is very bad that all this energy is literally wasted on a lottery.”
The latest price rally was triggered by an announcement by the electric car manufacturer Tesla that it would invest in Bitcoin.
Tesla received $ 1.5 billion in environmental grants in 2020, which taxpayers financed for the US group. “And they spend 1.5 billion dollars on Bitcoin, the majority of which are generated with electricity from coal-fired power plants. The se subsidies must be checked,” demands Gerard.
For comparison: According to E-Control, around 63.7 TWh of electricity were supplied to customers in Austria in the corona crisis year 2020 (minus 3.3 percent compared to 2019 and around the level of 2009) – around 10 TWh less than the total domestic electricity consumption, which was 73.5 TWh. This difference of 10 TWh was necessary for the system of pumped storage, i.e. the pumping of water into storage systems, as well as to cover network losses and to draw power plants from the network, e.g. to start up caloric systems. An average Austrian household consumes around 4,400 kilowatt hours of electrical energy per year. (apa)