Truth be told, nobody knows exactly how much energy bitcoin mining consumes globally. Cryptocurrency miners are secretive about their trade, but everyone agrees the electricity use of crypto mining must be very large.
A new study published in Joule—the first on the subject to undergo the rigors of peer review—argues that, globally, bitcoin mining consumes at least as much electricity in a year as all of Ireland (about 24 TWh).
Worse still, it contends that the energy use is doubling every six months and could reach the annual consumption of the Czech Republic (about 67 TWh) before the end of 2018, which would be about 0.3% of the world’s electricity consumption.
Those are eye-popping figures. But is it really worth worrying about?