You are no doubt aware of the whole climate change thing we've, and by that, we mean the entire world, been thinking about lots. Despite the fact that many of us grew up being taught about how climate change was coming and was something that needed to be stopped, not much has really been done about it.
Despite that, or maybe in spite of that, the world is currently still barrelling towards a very bad time with rising sea levels, more CO2 emissions than the world can cope with, and fires, floods, and other natural disasters basically happening weekly at this point, in places where they shouldn't. We aren't saying that all of this is just because of bitcoin mining, because it's not, but in this time when it's key that we all try to reduce our energy output, and shout at those in charge to do the same, maybe a massive increase in energy usage for bitcoin mining is bad.
Bitcoin mining in the US is growing at an alarming rate
Quartz reported that the share of bitcoin mining going on in the US has doubled from 117% to 35%. It means that the US is now doing more mining compared to the rest of the world than they were before. This means that the US is currently the world's leading bitcoin miner, which should be unnerving for anyone who cares about the environment.
According to the article, this is largely thanks to states like Texas, who are eager to welcome the crypto industry in to make the state look as though it's bringing in money. The sheer value of bitcoin means that they've no issue paying the absurd costs of energy even when it spikes, so it doesn't matter all that much where they're based.
It also means that the energy used for mining increased in the US as well. In fact, "the consumption of electricity by American bitcoin miners has approximately doubled as well. CCAF calculated the global bitcoin network used nearly 8 terawatt-hours of power in September 2021—a rate of use that translates, for US bitcoin miners alone, to around 35 terawatt-hours a year, or roughly three times the annual electricity use of Sri Lanka." For reference, the average American household uses around 10,715 kWh a year, which means that 35 tWh is the equivalent of around 3,266,449 houses worth of energy.
That's not all folks
It's not like this is the only report about this either. Back in September Business Insider did an article on a report done by The New York Times. We know that's a clumsy way of phrasing it, but you have to subscribe to The New York Times to read the original report, so we're going to talk about the Business Insider one.
This report shows that bitcoin mining consumes around 91 tWh of energy a year. That is, for the record, more energy than the entirety of Finland, which houses over 5.5 million people. It also means it's using almost 0.5% of the electricity being consumed globally. Now, that's a small percentage, but this literally isn't benefitting anyone other than the people mining it.
Bitcoin is undoubtedly not helping when it comes to the whole climate change thing. On the plus side, the Quartz article did state that China cracking down on bitcoin mining almost removed it from the country entirely. That's a good thing. Maybe other countries should be following suit if they're serious about not turning the Earth into Waterworld?