Bitcoin could use more power than electric vehicles
According to a leaked official document that saw the light of day on Twitter, the Leading Group of Internet Financial Risks Remediation, which is China’s top internet finance regulator, has asked local governments to “guide” bitcoin-mining operations towards an “orderly” exit from the business.
As the cryptocurrency-ecosystem is growing in popularity and numbers, more miners are entering the scene and with that more pressure is put on the electrical infrastructure – particularly in Douglas County, small territory in Washington State – [CNBC reporting]. Digital currency transactions require energy-intensive computer networks, with the industry now using as much power as 3.4 million USA households, according to Digiconomist Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index. That equates to more than half the 38 terawatt-hours of electricity used annually by the world’s biggest miner, BHP Billiton Ltd. – or a 10th of the electricity needed to power South Africa.
The short-lived bitcoin mining industry is already on the cusp of being shut down by Chinese authorities following concerns at the heavy demand the sector is placing on the electricity grid.
“In Canada, company Hydro Quebec described a potential sales pipeline of around 30 large cryptocurrency miners after a campaign by the public utility to attract data centres to the province triggered a flurry of interest from bitcoin miners in 2017”, the publication said. Miners earn bitcoin-denominated rewards for performing the complex calculations needed to confirm transactions in the cryptocurrency.