Bitcoin’s Energy Issues

Bitcoin is the gas guzzler of the crypto world. The process of verification that is used on the network is powerful but also uses a lot of power. It is something that has been identified as a pretty big negative when the sustainability of the system is considered.

If you’re interested in knowing how much power the network uses, Btxchange.io compiled a summary of the power usage to date. You can see what they found out in the infographic here.

It didn’t start out that way. In the early days, the computing power required to solve the cryptographic equations was reasonable. You could use just about any computer to mine transactions. But then the network started to grow.

The value of the cryptocurrency started to increase and, as a result, mining became highly profitable. And, as a result, miners flocked to the system. With more users, the power requirements just to maintain the chain increased.

With mining becoming more profitable, miners started to use bigger and better rigs so that they could have a competitive advantage. The upshot? Electricity usage skyrocketed and continued to climb as miners continued to try and outdo one another.

Why is the system so heavy on power? It is partially the complexity of the cryptographic hashes that miners need to solve to confirm transactions. But, the main problem lies in the redundancy of the system as a whole.

If you had one miner trying to solve one block at a time, it wouldn’t be nearly as wasteful. The problem is that you have hundreds or possibly thousands of miners working on each problem. The one that solves the equation correctly first is rewarded for her efforts, but the others get nothing.

As a result, there is a whole lot of effort put in that eventually leads to nowhere, while a lot of electricity is wasted in the process.

Josh Wardini

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