The digital world is taking more and more space in our lives… and dramatically increasing electrical use. It’s a serious problem given the urgent need fight climate change.
In a 2014 study, Karl J. O’Dwyer and David Malone showed that the consumption of the bitcoin network was likely to be approximately equivalent to the electricity consumption of a country like Ireland, i.e. an estimated 3 GW.
Imagine the consequences if this type of bitcoin currency becomes widespread. The global money supply in circulation is estimated at $11,000 billion. The corresponding energy consumption should therefore exceed 4,000 GW, which is eight times the electricity consumption of France and twice that of the United States. It is not without reason that a recent headline on the Novethic website proclaimed “The bitcoin, a burden for the climate”.
So crypto currencies, by design, are energy hogs, which means that as they get more and more popular, they will contribute to global warming in amounts far greater than anticipated.