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How would you estimate Bitcoin’s future energy usage?

[Here](https://www.coincenter.org/education/crypto-regulation-faq/understand-bitcoins-energy-use/#does_energy_usage) it states:

***It’s a common misconception that energy usage scales up with the number of bitcoin transactions and that if Bitcoin ever became widely adopted for payments, then the energy usage would be enough to boil the oceans.***

but then again:

***the effort spent securing the network scales automatically with the value of the transaction data on the blockchain—not the number of transactions. So the more value there is riding on the Bitcoin network (because individuals value it more as reflected in the price), the more resources will be devoted to its security.***

If I understand this correctly, this would directly translate into:

**More users and demand leads into greater energy usage due to Bitcoin’s price increasing.**

There have been some estimates of the network using around 170 TWh per year recently (some may have lower estimates).

Apparently there are currently approx. 83 million “wallet users” ([link](https://www.statista.com/statistics/647374/worldwide-blockchain-wallet-users/)), whatever that means – they cannot know how many wallets would be owned by a single user. So currently roughly only around 1 % of the world population are these “wallet users” (actual number of people could be much less though).

If we were to just naively extrapolate linearly Bitcoin’s future energy usage for the entire population the number would be quite enormous. However, the value in the blockchain does not increase linearly during adoption, but instead the price growth is exponential.

**Given these numbers, how would you estimate Bitcoin’s energy usage in the ultimate case of full adoption?**



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13 Comments

  1. I point out that Bitcoin’s energy usage is less than one-twentieth of one percent of global energy. Bitcoin’s energy use is not a problem.

    Perhaps some of the other 99.95 percent of the global energy IS a problem, but not Bitcoin.

  2. It would require a lot of guess work with when that would actually be, how much energy would cost then, and the price of BTC at that time.

    Every bull market companies flood the space expanding their mining operations or starting new ones. Then when the bear market comes and the price crashes the less efficient miners using power that has competition for it’s use gets priced out leaving those using stranded or renewable power.

    The mining companies that use stranded energy like flared/vented methane only pay.005 to .03 cents a kWh because there is no competition for that energy (it’s stranded) So I think over time through the cycles the majority of miners will be using stranded energy and it won’t matter how much it is because it would have been wasted otherwise.

    I know this doesn’t answer your question directly but if you are worried about the use in the future it is something that should ease your mind.

  3. There is not a day that goes by that the world:

    1 uses more energy.

    2. becomes more energy efficient.

    3. becomes more environmentally energy efficient, drifts away from carbon.

    4. discovers better technologies for generating and storing green energy.

    At the rate we are evolving in technology, the next 10 years will be more changes than the last 30 years. Energy will not be a concern when almost every home has solar power at a fraction of todays prices.

  4. What happens when 20 more countries adopt Bitcoin in circular economies using the lightning network as the main method of transacting? Ya the official government wallets are centralized but so what if you can just transfer it to your own wallet on a whim. I know what happens and I’ll tell you. The energy debate of per transaction cost approaches zero, even faster than your stupid fiat money, because there is no limit to the number of transactions on lightning in a circular economy.

    Get it?

  5. You can take the ratio of energy consumption of the whole banking/trust industry to the global energy consumption. Then multiply it with the global energy consumption in a future. Knowing that PoW is the more efficient method to manufacture trust, bitcoin’s energy usage will be somewhat less than this estimated number. However, I am not sure which chains would survive in market competition, so that number is for the sum of all the current split chains.

  6. The 60%(it’s 59) refers to 60% of btc miners are on renewable systems with a contract to purchase the excess. Btc datacenters(miners) do this setup because they get offered the electricity at a discount. And the energy producer gets a promise that none of the energy is stranded because they have a commitment to have it all purchased . This is a gamechanger for new green producers trying to get financed.

  7. I have an idea for Europe, as they tried to stop buying gas from Russia, which is not planned well to happen and Russia is already bullying them for it, why not to use mining farms to both create heat and cover the costs. Tech companies just need to design and create very efficient systems to gather and manage the output heat of mining in order to warm EU in coming winter, Russia will defeat it’s bullish plan which make things better for Ukraine too, no need to buy gas (at least for warming purpose) from Russia., it’s all win win.

  8. Some shower thoughts:

    Scaling Bitcoin might rely on L2 and L3 platforms that reduce energy requirements.

    I heard there’s some research where transactions could become nested, scaling transaction throughput.

    As block rewards decrease the incentive for mining decreases – will likely lead to a drop in miners. I think the network is not dependent on more miners the larger it grows so should not be an issue and would reduce energy requirements.

    If Bitcoin scales and eliminates some of the existing financial infrastructures, could net offset on energy demands?

  9. Energy usage is irrelevant for environmental conversations. It’s how much CO2. It’s run on almost 60% stranded energy from renewables which is no emissions. It also can sequester methane which is up to 80x worse than CO2. It is the greenest industry by light years. The next closest is like 13% renewables with no methane cleanup potential.

What do you think?

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