The surge of interest in bitcoin has triggered not only skyrocketing prices and endless debate on whether it's bubble, but also an enormous increase in electricity consumption all over the world.
According to Digiconomist’s Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index, as of November 20th bitcoin’s current estimated annual electricity consumption is 29.05 billion kilowatt hours (kWh). The figure represents 0.13 percent of global electricity consumption.
According to the UK energy comparison site Power Compare, bitcoin mining is currently using more electricity than 159 individual countries.
If bitcoin miners were one country, it would be ranked 61st in the world based on electricity consumption, comparable to Morocco or Slovakia.
“If it keeps increasing at this rate, Bitcoin mining will consume the entire world’s electricity by February 2020,” Power Compare reports.
The website also compares global mining revenues, which currently stand at $7.2 billion, with estimated global mining costs reportedly hovering around $1.5 billion. The figures show that the world's number one digital currency is still worth mining.
According to Power Compare estimations, bitcoin mining could provide power for 2.4 million Americans and 6.1 million Britons.
“The mining consumes more electricity than 12 US states: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming,” the researchers claim.
According to the above map, Ireland currently uses an estimated 25 billion kWh of electricity annually, so global bitcoin mining consumption is 16 percent more than the country consumes. Britain consumes an estimated 309 billion kWh of electricity a year, so global bitcoin mining consumption is only equivalent to 9.4 percent of the UK total.