As Bitcoin soars in popularity, it uses increasingly large amounts of power – its consumption has soared by 30% in the last month alone.
If usage continues to grow at this rate, the network could surpass the power consumption of the USA by mid-2019 and the whole world by early 2020.
That’s the suggestion made in a new article from Coinshare, which says this is driven by miners offering their computing power to run the network and receive an amount of Bitcoin as a reward.
Miners can maximise profits by using application-specific integrated circuits (ASIC) to earn Bitcoin faster than possible using a standard computer.
ASICs use significantly more electricity and also require large amounts of power for the fans needed to cool them.
Based on data from Powercompare, Bitcoin’s estimated power consumption is roughly equivalent to the annual carbon footprint of 4.5 million cars.
Coinshare suggests the problem is made worse by the fact many Bitcoin mining farms are often opened in countries like China, where electricity is less expensive but also comes from less environmentally friendly methods of power generation, such as coal.