Cambridge University have revealed that the total energy consumption of Bitcoin networks is greater than that used by the whole of Switzerland.
Bitcoin is an online network where money transfers can be made without limits. However, in order for it to be secure the machines involved need to solve ‘puzzles’ to verify the transactions. This is carried out by ‘mining’ computers, with miners occasionally receiving small amounts of Bitcoin for their efforts.
In order to maximise their earnings, people often create a network of multiple mining devices – some even run entire warehouses full of them.
This leads to a huge total consumption of power, which researchers at the University of Cambridge have processed to create the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index (CBECI). This index “provides a real-time estimate of the total electricity load and consumption of the Bitcoin network” and allows for comparisons to be made against other measures of energy usage.
At the time of writing, the estimated consumption of the entire Bitcoin network stood at 10.45 TWh per year. This is more than the total annual electricity used by Switzerland.
As a comparison, the researchers have predicted that the amount of electricity used by the Bitcoin network every year could power the University of Cambridge for 365 years.
With increasing strain on non-renewable energies, this type of huge energy consumption will have a big effect on the amount of energy that needs to be created by renewable energies in the coming years.
At present, if all of the world’s annual production of power from solar and wind generators was used solely for the Bitcoin network, it could be powered for the equivalent of just 23 years.
If you’re looking for more information on the Bitcoin network, or are looking to reduce your IT power usage, get in touch with one of our experts today.