THE WORLD — New research posits that Bitcoin mining will consume half a percent of the world's total electricity by the end of 2018, then 5 percent in a few years.
According to research published in the journal Joule, the same amount of electricity used in one Bitcoin transaction could power the average Dutch household for a month.
The study says the Bitcoin network currently consumes 2.55 gigawatts of electricity, nearly the same as Ireland. By the end of 2018, the study predicts predicts that number rise to 7.8 gigawatts.
Bitcoin transactions require massive computational power, and thereby large amounts of electricity to function. Computers in the decentralized Bitcoin network calculating transactions compete every 10 minutes to create the next block of transactions in the chain. Known as Bitcoin mining, this process sees the winning hardware get 12.5 bitcoins, or around $100,000.
However, as Bitcoin calculations become more difficult to solve people employing more computational power have a higher chance of winning. The problem with this, study author Alex Devries explained to Gizmodo, is that the process motivates participants in the network to use more hardware, and as a result more power.