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Bitcoin’s Carbon Footprint: Single BTC Transaction Equivalent to 780,650 Visa Transactions

According to The Telegraph, the energy a single Bitcoin (BTC) transaction consumes is equivalent to the electricity consumed across two months in an average British household. This is based on new research, which has emerged from Alex De Vries, an investment and trade analyst who founded an online cryptocurrency magazine called the Digiconomist, on the impact of Bitcoin’s energy consumption and more importantly, its impact on the environment.

The Bitcoin mining industry has long been in the spotlight for the energy it consumes due to the immense processing power and mining hardware equipment required. The report puts the annual 77.8 terawatt-hours of energy that Bitcoin mining consumes into perspective, as this record-high figure is equivalent to the total amount of energy required to power an entire city like Chile and Romania, or more. Delving deeper into the energy consumption of a single BTC transaction, the report compares this to the energy consumed in 780,650 Visa transactions, and 52,043 hours of Youtube streaming. 

De Vries also highlights the wastage existent as he proclaims that only 2% of mining rigs actually verify transactions, leaving the remaining 98% to consume energy without any results or output. He also claims what makes this worse is the fact that this electricity is produced mostly in China, which is heavily reliant on ‘coal-based’ power.

However, both CoinTelegraph and Coinshare, a digital assets investment firm, have also questioned the validity and accuracy of De Vries’ statistics as both have done extensive research on Bitcoin mining as well. They have found that their data does not match De Vries’, adding also that many mining plants now are increasingly turning to sustainable and renewable forms of energy such as hydro and wind power, the former of which has been utilized in China’s Sichuan province.

It has been roughly estimated that the cost to mine one Bitcoin in China is around $3,000 while the rest of the world is ranging around $6ks. China also took the lead in utilizing renewable and surplus energy to mine Bitcoin, which contribute to a much lower cost in mining. Sichuan alone, with 90% renewable energy penetration, controls over 50% of global mining processing power.

You may also want to read: Bitcoin Blockchain Network Sees 500Million Confirmed Transactions

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