According to a new analysis, Bitcoin has already consumed more energy this year than it did in all of 2020, with each Bitcoin transaction generating 272 grams of e-waste, mainly composed of outdated mining equipment.
According to a Bloomberg study published on Sept. 13, the Bitcoin network will have consumed 91 TW/h (terawatt-hours or one trillion watts per hour) by the end of the year, much above the predicted 67 TW/h for the entire year of 2020.
The exact figures for energy use are variable and difficult to determine precisely, but the trend is clear: they are rising. BTC is expected to consume 95.68 TW/h by the end of the year, according to the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index. This is nearly the same as the Philippines’ power use.
Another problem, according to a separate report published by Science Direct, is electronic trash. E-waste is a term that refers to electrical and computer equipment that has been wasted.
According to the paper, each Bitcoin transaction generates 272 grams of e-waste, the majority of which is comprised of outdated mining equipment.
Bitcoin miners, it noted, “cycle through an increasing amount of short-lived hardware, which might exacerbate the growth in worldwide electronic waste,” with yearly e-waste creation totaling 30.7 metric kilotons in May 2021.
The study predicted the following by the conclusion of the year:
“Bitcoin could produce up to 64.4 metric kilotons [64,400 tons] of e-waste at peak Bitcoin price levels seen in early 2021.”
The average amount of e-waste generated per transaction is approximately half the weight of the most recent iPad. However, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook, the company may be facing a significant e-waste problem, with over 1.65 billion gadgets running on its network as of last year.
According to Zdnet, this might result in as much as 250,000 metric tons of e-waste when they become obsolete.
According to Statista, Bitcoin accounts for about 0.11 percent of the expected global total for e-waste in 2021, which is 57.4 million metric tons.
Bitcoin’s energy consumption is also negligible in comparison, depending on your point of view. Bitcoin mining accounts for only 0.43 percent of total global electricity use. According to Cambridge University, refrigerators utilize an estimated 104 TW/h in the United States alone.
The Onion, in a more comedic take on Bitcoin’s power consumption, said that the computer power consumed for BTC mining is actually saving humanity from extinction.
The satirical premise is that if the world’s computers were not forced to mine crypto, they would “most certainly dedicate that computational capacity toward becoming self-aware and, eventually, exterminating the human species.”
While Bitcoin mining consumes a significant amount of energy, following the huge miner migration out of China, more of it has been renewable as new and relocated farms and factories powered by green energy have gone up in the United States and Canada.