Everywhere you go people are talking about Bitcoin as one of the most investable opportunities out there, but everyone is also a bit wary about it because it’s so mysterious and nobody knows what the hell is going to happen with it.
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Whilst this is undoubtedly true, there’s another factor that I don’t think I’ve really heard anyone consider about the cryptocurrency game until this recent article from Eric Holthaus in Grist. He’s basically saying that in the next couple of years, the energy requirements for Bitcoin are going to become untenable and this could seriously affect the climate of the Earth as well.
Here’s what he had to say:
Today, each bitcoin transaction requires the same amount of energy used to power nine homes in the US for one day.
And miners are constantly installing more and faster computers.
But what they might not have accounted for is how much of an energy suck the computer network behind bitcoin could one day become.
Simply put, bitcoin is slowing the effort to achieve a rapid transition away from fossil fuels.
What’s more, this is just the beginning. Given its rapidly growing climate footprint, bitcoin is a malignant development, and it’s getting worse.
In just a few months from now, at bitcoin’s current growth rate, the electricity demanded by the cryptocurrency network will start to outstrip what’s available, requiring new energy-generating plants.
And with the climate conscious racing to replace fossil fuel-base plants with renewable energy sources, new stress on the grid means more facilities using dirty technologies.
By July 2019, the bitcoin network will require more electricity than the entire United States currently uses.
By February 2020, it will use as much electricity as the entire world does today.
This is an unsustainable trajectory. It simply can’t continue.
I mean yeah, that is true and it’s something I’ve never really ever thought about when thinking about Bitcoin. But it is a concern and going to be a major problem in the next couple of years as cryptocurrencies continue to grow and grow. Not exactly sure what it means, but it’s something to think about for sure. Probably worth picking up a few though anyway.
For more Bitcoin, check out this guy who accidentally threw away a hard drive with £75 million. Idiot.