Bitcoin Mining Is Burning Enough Electricity to Power Nigeria

The Bitcoin network is burning up enough electricity to power a single average American household for a week. Critics fear the network is costing the world more than it should.

The Bitcoin network is burning up enough electricity to power a single average American household for a week. With current prices soaring at $7,300, bitcoin mining revenues worth $5,535,244,129 per year warrants investing in 24 terawatt-hours of electricity annually for a piece of mining rewards. This enormous consumption translates the annual energy consumption of Nigeria, a nation of close to 190 million people.

According to Motherboard Vice, maintaining the Bitcoin network is costing the world more than it should through its significant waste and carbon emissions. Even with all the energy spent to process global transactions, Bitcoin only musters a mere 300,000 transactions per day. 

Every single transaction consumes a shocking 215 KWh per day, an amount of energy that is enough to support Americans living on 901 KWh per month.

"That means that, at a minimum, worldwide Bitcoin mining could power the daily needs of 821,940 average American homes."

Freshly minted bitcoins are awarded to miners for solving cryptographic puzzles using electricity and computer chips With increase in prices, the process has quickly turned into a gold mine. Chip makers like AMD, Bitmain, and NVIDIA have reported higher sales revenues as mining equipment sells off the shelf. 

Samsung even came up with a new upcycling initiative that stacks up 40 old Galaxy S5 mobile phones into a decent bitcoin mining rig.

But the process continues to come under criticism for a cost on the environment that is not worth the service provided by the network. A new wave of next-generation blockchains is moving away from it by building new designs that do not depend on energy to arrive at a similar consensus.

Ethereum, second only to bitcoin in market cap, is the first to pivot away from proof-of-work mining method to a more efficient proof-of-stake consensus process that uses stake measures instead of electricity. Other projects including Ark, EOS, NEO, and Tezos are building an improved version dubbed Delegated Proof of Stake from scratch.

With declining bitcoin mining revenues and a shift away from the process, mining might be worth much less in the coming years.