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    Bitcoin’s ongoing meteoric price rise has received the bulk of recent press attention with a lot of discussion around whether or not it’s a bubble waiting to burst. We have covered it here a few times. I once mined coins and swapped them for bitcoins, then into dollars until the electricity became too expensive.

    The Big Electricity Consumer

    However, most the coverage has missed out one of the more interesting and unintended consequences of this price increase. That is the surge in global electricity consumption used to “mine” more Bitcoins.

    According to Digiconomist’s Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index, as of Monday November 20th, 2017 Bitcoin’s current estimated annual electricity consumption stands at 29.05TWh.

    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 annualised 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.

    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.

    Solution

    There is a simple environmental or energy conservation solution. Ban it. However I am sure many others would have good political and social motives for keeping it. If it is a bubble then it will take of itself. If the price bubble bursts then it will be uneconomic to mine it. problem solved.

    References

    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.

    Below we have a table showing the data we used for each country:

    RankCountryElectricity Consumption in kWh/yearBitcoin Mining Consumption Relative To Country’s Use
    1 China5,920,000,000,000.000.49%
    2 United States3,913,000,000,000.000.74%
    3 Russia1,065,000,000,000.002.73%
    4 India1,001,191,000,000.002.90%
    5 Japan934,000,000,000.003.11%
    6 Germany533,000,000,000.005.45%
    7 Canada528,000,000,000.005.50%
    8 Brazil518,000,000,000.005.61%
    9 Korea, South495,000,000,000.005.87%
    10 France431,000,000,000.006.74%
    11 United Kingdom309,000,000,000.009.40%
    12 Italy291,000,000,000.009.98%
    13 Saudi Arabia272,000,000,000.0010.68%
    14 Taiwan249,500,000,000.0011.64%
    15 Mexico238,000,000,000.0012.21%
    16 Spain234,000,000,000.0012.41%
    17 Australia224,000,000,000.0012.97%
    18 Iran218,000,000,000.0013.33%
    19 South Africa212,000,000,000.0013.70%
    20 Turkey207,000,000,000.0014.03%
    21 Indonesia195,000,000,000.0014.90%
    22 Thailand164,000,000,000.0017.71%
    23 Egypt143,000,000,000.0020.31%
    24 Ukraine143,000,000,000.0020.31%
    25 Poland142,000,000,000.0020.46%
    26 Malaysia131,000,000,000.0022.18%
    27 Sweden127,000,000,000.0022.87%
    28 Norway126,400,000,000.0022.98%
    29 Vietnam125,000,000,000.0023.24%
    30 Argentina116,000,000,000.0025.04%
    31 Netherlands108,000,000,000.0026.90%
    32 United Arab Emirates96,000,000,000.0030.26%
    33 Kazakhstan91,000,000,000.0031.92%
    34 Philippines90,797,891,000.0031.99%
    35 Pakistan82,000,000,000.0035.43%
    36 Finland81,000,000,000.0035.86%
    37 Belgium81,000,000,000.0035.86%
    38 Venezuela78,000,000,000.0037.24%
    39 Austria69,750,000,000.0041.65%
    40 Chile66,000,000,000.0044.02%
    41 Czech Republic60,000,000,000.0048.42%
    42 Colombia60,000,000,000.0048.42%
    43 Israel59,830,000,000.0048.55%
    44  Switzerland58,000,000,000.0050.09%
    45 Kuwait54,000,000,000.0053.80%
    46 Greece53,000,000,000.0054.81%
    47 Algeria49,000,000,000.0059.29%
    48 Romania48,000,000,000.0060.52%
    49 Uzbekistan48,000,000,000.0060.52%
    50 Singapore47,180,000,000.0061.57%
    51 Portugal46,000,000,000.0063.15%
    52 Bangladesh46,000,000,000.0063.15%
    53 Hong Kong42,000,000,000.0069.17%
    54 Iraq42,000,000,000.0069.17%
    55 New Zealand40,000,000,000.0072.63%
    56 Peru39,000,000,000.0074.49%
    57 Qatar34,000,000,000.0085.44%
    58 Belarus33,000,000,000.0088.03%
    59 Denmark32,000,000,000.0090.78%
    60 Bulgaria31,000,000,000.0093.71%
    61 Morocco29,000,000,000.00100.17%
    62 Slovakia28,360,000,000.00102.43%
    63 Serbia26,910,000,000.00107.95%
    64 Bahrain25,000,000,000.00116.20%
    65 Ireland25,000,000,000.00116.20%
    66 Oman25,000,000,000.00116.20%
    67 Nigeria24,000,000,000.00121.04%
    68 Hungary21,550,000,000.00134.80%
    69 Ecuador21,000,000,000.00138.33%
    70 Azerbaijan20,000,000,000.00145.25%
    71 Puerto Rico19,000,000,000.00152.89%
    72 Iceland17,000,000,000.00170.88%
    73 Syria17,000,000,000.00170.88%
    74 Croatia16,970,000,000.00171.18%
    75 Jordan16,000,000,000.00181.56%
    76 Lebanon16,000,000,000.00181.56%
    77 Dominican Republic15,140,000,000.00191.88%
    78 Tunisia15,000,000,000.00193.67%
    79 Cuba15,000,000,000.00193.67%
    80 Korea, North15,000,000,000.00193.67%
    81 Slovenia13,000,000,000.00223.46%
    82 Turkmenistan13,000,000,000.00223.46%
    83 Tajikistan12,000,000,000.00242.08%
    84 Mozambique12,000,000,000.00242.08%
    85 Kyrgyzstan11,000,000,000.00264.09%
    86 Sri Lanka11,000,000,000.00264.09%
    87 Zambia11,000,000,000.00264.09%
    88 Bosnia and Herzegovina11,000,000,000.00264.09%
    89 Myanmar11,000,000,000.00264.09%
    90 Uruguay10,000,000,000.00290.50%
    91 Lithuania9,900,000,000.00293.43%
    92 Sudan9,900,000,000.00293.43%
    93 Georgia9,800,000,000.00296.43%
    94 Paraguay9,700,000,000.00299.48%
    95 Libya9,300,000,000.00312.37%
    96 Congo, Democratic Republic of the9,300,000,000.00312.37%
    97 Costa Rica9,200,000,000.00315.76%
    98 Ghana9,200,000,000.00315.76%
    99 Trinidad and Tobago9,100,000,000.00319.23%
    100 Guatemala8,915,000,000.00325.86%
    101 Estonia8,200,000,000.00354.27%
    102 Angola8,100,000,000.00358.64%
    103 Zimbabwe8,000,000,000.00363.13%
    104 Panama7,800,000,000.00372.44%
    105 Albania7,793,000,000.00372.77%
    106 Kenya7,600,000,000.00382.24%
    107 Bolivia7,500,000,000.00387.33%
    108 Macedonia6,960,000,000.00417.39%
    109 Latvia6,800,000,000.00427.21%
    110 Ethiopia6,700,000,000.00433.58%
    111 Luxembourg6,200,000,000.00468.55%
    112 Cameroon6,100,000,000.00476.23%
    113 Ivory Coast5,800,000,000.00500.86%
    114 El Salvador5,700,000,000.00509.65%
    115 Mongolia5,600,000,000.00518.75%
    116 Honduras5,300,000,000.00548.11%
    117 West Bank5,200,000,000.00558.65%
    118 Yemen5,200,000,000.00558.65%
    119 Armenia5,100,000,000.00569.61%
    120 Tanzania5,000,000,000.00581.00%
    121 Afghanistan4,700,000,000.00618.09%
    122 Macau4,500,000,000.00645.56%
    123 Nicaragua4,412,000,000.00658.43%
    124 Moldova4,305,000,000.00674.80%
    125 Cambodia4,100,000,000.00708.54%
    126 Laos3,900,000,000.00744.87%
    127   Nepal3,900,000,000.00744.87%
    128 Cyprus3,900,000,000.00744.87%
    129 Brunei3,766,000,000.00771.38%
    130 Botswana3,700,000,000.00785.14%
    131 Namibia3,700,000,000.00785.14%
    132 Papua New Guinea3,000,000,000.00968.33%
    133 Senegal3,000,000,000.00968.33%
    134 Kosovo2,887,000,000.001006.23%
    135 Montenegro2,800,000,000.001037.50%
    136 Jamaica2,800,000,000.001037.50%
    137 Uganda2,700,000,000.001075.93%
    138 Mauritius2,600,000,000.001117.31%
    139 Gabon2,100,000,000.001383.33%
    140 Bhutan2,085,000,000.001393.29%
    141 New Caledonia2,000,000,000.001452.50%
    142 Malta2,000,000,000.001452.50%
    143 Suriname1,900,000,000.001528.95%
    144 Malawi1,900,000,000.001528.95%
    145 Bahamas1,600,000,000.001815.63%
    146 Guam1,500,000,000.001936.67%
    147 Swaziland1,500,000,000.001936.67%
    148 Mali1,400,000,000.002075.00%
    149 Liechtenstein1,360,000,000.002136.03%
    150 Madagascar1,300,000,000.002234.62%
    151 Burkina Faso1,200,000,000.002420.83%
    152 Niger1,200,000,000.002420.83%
    153 Togo1,100,000,000.002640.91%
    154 Benin1,000,000,000.002905.00%
    155 Curacao968,000,000.003001.03%
    156 Congo, Republic of the900,000,000.003227.78%
    157 Guinea900,000,000.003227.78%
    158 Barbados900,000,000.003227.78%
    159 Mauritania800,000,000.003631.25%
    160 Lesotho800,000,000.003631.25%
    161 Guyana800,000,000.003631.25%
    162 Fiji800,000,000.003631.25%
    163 Aruba800,000,000.003631.25%
    164 French Polynesia700,000,000.004150.00%
    165 South Sudan694,100,000.004185.28%
    166 Jersey630,100,000.004610.38%
    167 Bermuda600,000,000.004841.67%
    168 Cayman Islands600,000,000.004841.67%
    169 U.S. Virgin Islands600,000,000.004841.67%
    170 Marshall Islands600,000,000.004841.67%
    171 Andorra562,400,000.005165.36%
    172 Rwanda500,000,000.005810.00%
    173 Burundi400,000,000.007262.50%
    174 Belize400,000,000.007262.50%
    175 Djibouti400,000,000.007262.50%
    176 Haiti400,000,000.007262.50%
    177 Seychelles300,000,000.009683.33%
    178 Somalia300,000,000.009683.33%
    179 Saint Lucia300,000,000.009683.33%
    180 Antigua and Barbuda300,000,000.009683.33%
    181 Cabo Verde300,000,000.009683.33%
    182 Eritrea300,000,000.009683.33%
    183 Faroe Islands300,000,000.009683.33%
    184 Gambia300,000,000.009683.33%
    185 Greenland300,000,000.009683.33%
    186 Liberia300,000,000.009683.33%
    187 Maldives300,000,000.009683.33%
    188 Chad200,000,000.0014525.00%
    189 Saint Kitts and Nevis200,000,000.0014525.00%
    190 Central African Republic200,000,000.0014525.00%
    191 Sierra Leone200,000,000.0014525.00%
    192 Turks and Caicos Islands200,000,000.0014525.00%
    193 Gibraltar200,000,000.0014525.00%
    194 Grenada200,000,000.0014525.00%
    195 Micronesia, Federated States of178,600,000.0016265.40%
    196 Timor-Leste125,300,000.0023184.36%
    197 British Virgin Islands100,000,000.0029050.00%
    198 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines100,000,000.0029050.00%
    199 American Samoa100,000,000.0029050.00%
    200 Samoa100,000,000.0029050.00%
    201 Equatorial Guinea91,140,000.0031874.04%
    202 Dominica90,210,000.0032202.64%
    203 Western Sahara83,700,000.0034707.29%
    204 Solomon Islands79,050,000.0036748.89%
    205 Sao Tome and Principe65,100,000.0044623.66%
    206 Vanuatu55,800,000.0052060.93%
    207 Tonga46,500,000.0062473.12%
    208 Saint Pierre and Miquelon41,850,000.0069414.58%
    209 Comoros40,920,000.0070992.18%
    210 Guinea-Bissau31,620,000.0091872.23%
    211 Cook Islands31,620,000.0091872.23%
    212 Kiribati27,900,000.00104121.86%
    213 Nauru23,250,000.00124946.24%
    214 Montserrat21,390,000.00135811.13%
    215 Falkland Islands13,950,000.00208243.73%
    216 Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha9,300,000.00312365.59%
    217 Niue3,720,000.00780913.98%
    218 Gaza Strip202,000.0014381188.12%
    219 Northern Mariana Islands48,300.0060144927.54%

    Bitcoin Mining Electricity Consumption Vs US States

    While doing the research we also though it might be interesting to compare Bitcoin mining energy consumption to US states. So we created the map below:

    Overall, 12 States consume less electricity than Bitcoin Mining (Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming).

    The data for this section comes from the EIA and is for 2015 and uses total retail sales. Please note this data set uses MWh instead of kWh.

    StateTotal retail sales (MWh)Bitcoin Mining Consumption Relative To State’s Use
    Alabama88,845,543.0033%
    Alaska6,159,204.00472%
    Arizona77,349,416.0038%
    Arkansas46,465,154.0063%
    California
    Solar Energy Becomes Largest Source of New Electricity Capacity in India
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