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BTC’s Energy Consumption Problem May Be Much Worse Than We Thought

The Bitcoin mining industry's energy consumption, which equals that of Chile's, also generates massive amounts of e-waste.

As Bitcoin’s market cap has continued to grow into hundreds of bilions of dollars over the past several years, so too has the mining industry that supports the network: according to some estimates, Bitcoin’s mining industry generated as much as $5.4 billion in revenue last year.

However, the growth of the Bitcoin network, as well as the Bitcoin mining industry, has not come without a steep cost to the environment.

Indeed, there have been many reports on the Bitcoin network’s energy consumption problem. However, Alex DeVries, blockchain expert at accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers, claims that massive amounts of e-waste will eventually be generated by outdated mining equipment, 98 percent of which he says becomes obsolete within one and a half years after their initial use.

Indeed, through his website, Digiconimist, which Mr. DeVries founded to highlight Bitcoin’s energy problem, Bitcoin generates as much e-waste each year as the nation of Luxembourg, which has a population of over 600,000 people (2018).

“It’s impossible for 98 percent of [mining] devices during their lifetime to make the calculation that actually results in a reward.

“The shocking thing is the average lifetime of a bitcoin mining machine is one and a half years, because we have a new generation of machines which are better at doing these calculations,” Mr. DeVries told the Telegraph.

He also pointed out that the nature of Bitcoin mining is such that myriad machines are constantly competing for a reward that most of them will never get: “they are sort of participating in a massive lottery and every 10 minutes one gets lucky and gets to produce the next block,” he explained. Read More...