Estimates of Bitcoin’s Soaring Energy Use Are Likely Overstating the Electric Power Required To Mine the Cryptocurrency
Posted by msmash on 25th December 2017
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From a report: The computer process that generates each coin is said to be on pace to require more electricity than the United States consumes in a year. This bitcoin “mining” allegedly consumes more power than most countries use each year, and its electricity usage is roughly equivalent to Bulgaria’s consumption. But here’s another thing you might want to know: All of that analysis is based on a single estimate of bitcoin’s power consumption that is highly questionable, according to some long-time energy and IT researchers. Despite their skepticism, this power-consumption estimate from the website Digiconomist has quickly been accepted as gospel by many journalists, research analysts and even billionaire investors. That model is also the basis for forecasts of bitcoin’s future energy use that remind some experts of wild projections about internet data traffic in the mid-1990s that contributed back then to companies spending far too much for capacity they would eventually not need. “Doing these wild extrapolations can have real-world consequences,” said Jonathan Koomey, a Stanford University lecturer who pioneered studies of electricity usage from IT equipment and helped debunk faulty forecasts in the 1990s. “I would not bet anything on the bitcoin thing driving total electricity demand. It is a tiny, tiny part of all data center electricity use.”

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