Experts have been warning that the Bitcoin network has caused a massive surge in energy consumption; despite the fact that it actually only uses about 0.14 percent of global electricity. So, why are people believing that it is using too much?
Well, the truth is that Bitcoin does use a surprising amount of energy, despite that on a global scale it is still a relatively small amount. Figures suggest that it took approximately 250 kilowatt-hours of energy to process a single action in early December of 2017. Other figures suggest that the network actually consumes more electricity than the whole of Serbia. It also equates as enough electricity to provide for almost 3 million households in the US.
When the price of Bitcoin increases, it automatically increases the electricity usage as well. This is because when the price is high, it will attract more investors, which will mean that it requires more computers to mine Bitcoin.
So, the real question is, is Bitcoin worth it? It takes a lot of electricity to power the computers, but it is this that ensures the integrity of the Bitcoin protocol. So, considering this, it is difficult to say whether this electricity is wasteful or not.
There is the worry that Bitcoin is in fact a bubble, with a very volatile price. However, it is the people who are investing their own money into new mining rigs, and in turn paying the huge electricity bills who have the most to lose. The other worry is that this huge electricity consumption can contribute to climate change. But really, the question as to whether Bitcoin uses too much energy is very situational and very dependent on whether you feel that the price and the popular cryptocurrency is worth it or not.
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