One major argument against Bitcoin is the amount of energy used in mining new blocks. Regulators have gone all out to curb the proof-of-work blockchain’s energy consumption and reduce its environmental impact. However, the latest findings show that Bitcoin mining energy usage only accounts for a small portion of the world’s energy production.
The Bitcoin Mining Council (BMC) estimates the cryptocurrency’s energy consumption to be just 0.16% of the world’s total output. The organization, which accounts for 51 of the world’s largest mining companies, released this figure in its Q3 report.
However, the report also states an increase in the cryptocurrency’s energy consumption year-on-year.
More On BMC’s Q3 Report
The BMC published its analysis and research on the energy used by Bitcoin miners on October 18th. These miners enable the Bitcoin network to process transactions despite its extremely decentralized structure.
BMC’s founder, Michael Saylor, explained in a video that Bitcoin’s power usage is extremely little compared to the world’s electricity usage. He stated that the amount of electricity used for mining is just 0.16% of the total amount used worldwide.
According to the research, Bitcoin’s network utilizes 266 TWh annually, while global power usage is 165,317 TWh. Saylor noted an interesting fact: one-third of the blockchain’s entire power usage is waste that can’t be used. This means that the amount of electricity used by the Bitcoin network has little effect on global warming.
Saylor, Microstrategy’s former CEO, also said that the Bitcoin network presently runs on a 59.4% renewable energy mix. This makes it a frontrunner in the PoW blockchain industry.
BTC Emissions Near Zero Despite Pressure From Environmentalists
The BMC also determined that bitcoin mining contributed just 0.1% (or “negligible”) to global carbon emissions. Bitcoin miners have long been under fire from environmental activists who say their excessive energy usage harms the environment.
Greenpeace, one notable independent global campaign network, has been running a campaign under the slogan “change the code, not the climate.” The aim is to get the Bitcoin network to switch to the proof-of-stake method, which is better for the environment. However, the official account has attracted barely 1,100 followers as of this writing.
BTC Records High Year-On-Year Consumption
Despite using less energy than other industries, the report also stated that BTC’s year-on-year (YoY) consumption increased by 41%. It’s also worth noting that the cryptocurrency’s mining efficiency increased by 23% in Q3 2022 compared to the same quarter the year prior.
The consumption increase is attributed to BTC’s hash rate’s 8.3% and 73% increase in the third quarter and year-on-year, respectively. This increase comes despite BTC’s falling price and fewer blocks mined. As of writing, Bitcoin was trading in the red zone, down 0.45% in the last 24 hours.
This increased consumption has renewed worries among cryptocurrency miners that authorities may soon step in and crack down on the industry. In March, the European Union shot down a proposal that would have outlawed cryptocurrency mining outright. However, stricter rules might yet be on the horizon.
Featured image from Pixabay and chart from TradingView.com