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Data shows the Bitcoin mining industry consumes slightly less energy in total compared to the video gaming sector.
Bitcoin Mining Energy Consumption Stands At 100 TWh Per Year Right Now
According to a recent report released by Arcane Research, while the BTC mining energy consumption has grown significantly in recent years, the industry still makes up a very small part of the global total.
Currently, Bitcoin miners are utilizing electricity at a rate of around 100 TWh per year. This figure accounts for about 0.06% of the world’s total energy demands, quite insignificant.
Here is a chart that shows how BTC mining compares with some of the other energy-intensive industries on Earth:
The industry's energy demands are lower than all these sectors | Source: Arcane Research's "How Bitcoin Mining Can Transform the Energy Industry"
As you can see in the above graph, the video gaming industry consumes about 105 TWh per year, just slightly more than what BTC miners use.
Gold mining, on the other hand, takes much more electricity to run as its annual energy intake stands at around 240 TWh at the moment, almost 2.5x BTC mining needs.
The chart also includes data for paper production, which demands 2,361 TWh per year, 10 times Gold mining’s, and 24 times BTC miners’.
The report also argues that the way BTC miners consume power is different from these other energy-intensive industries.
BTC Miners Are Unique Consumers Of Electricity
There are five main things that make these miners “unique consumers of energy.” First, around 80% of the operation costs of BTC mining is made up by electricity alone.
This means that miners have a lot of incentive to do with as little energy as they can, or move to areas where prices are lower.
The second difference is that mining is location agnostic. Miners can set up their facilities pretty much anywhere, and can thus make use of energy resources not being utilized by anyone else because of location limitations of other industries.
Third, Bitcoin miners can turn their machines on or off at a moment’s notice. Not just that, they can even adjust their consumption watt by watt. The report notes that this feature makes mining very suitable for acting as a demand-response tool, which could help improve the strength of electricity grids.
The fourth exceptional point about BTC mining is the modularity. Individual AISC machines can be clubbed together in any quantities, thus making miners be able to scale up their facilities exactly according to how much energy is available. This suggests miners can make use of 100% excess energy coming out of power projects.
Lastly, there is the portability of the mining rigs. Bitcoin miners can easily transport their machines to other locations because of how portable AISC setups are.
At the time of writing, Bitcoin’s price floats around $19.8k, down 2% in the past week.
BTC has gone down over the past day | Source: BTCUSD on TradingView
Featured image from Brian Wangenheim on Unsplash.com, charts from TradingView.com, Arcane Research