With the recent surge in bitcoin price I have been paying a lot of attention to cryptocurrency, especially the granddaddy of them all. This article makes an interesting, and thoughtful case that even those who are not participating in bitcoin mining are going to feel negative effects of the computational power required to mine the coins:
No one may be using Bitcoin, but we’re all paying for them.
Bitcoin analyst Alex de Vries, otherwise known as the Digiconomist, reports that the coin’s surge caused its estimated annual energy consumption to increase from 25 terawatt hours in early November to 30 TWh last week-a figure, wrote Vox’s Umair Irfan, “On par with the energy use of the entire country of Morocco, more than 19 European countries, and roughly 0.7 percent of total energy demand in the United States, equal to 2.8 million U.S. households.” Just one transaction can use as much energy as an entire household does in a week, and there are about 300,000 transactions every day.
Some Bitcoin enthusiasts claim that it will eventually become a mainstream currency, and that the cryptogovernance system upon which it’s built could actually help the environment.
The Bitcoin market is volatile, its future murky.
We don’t have time or resources to waste on Bitcoin.
Unlike cash, a Bitcoin cannot be printed or otherwise “Made” by a human.
In order to create one, a computer must access the Bitcoin network and solve a complicated math problem, a process known as “Mining.” But there are a finite number of Bitcoins that can be mined-21 million, to be exact-and as more Bitcoins are mined, the math problems get more challenging.