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Bitcoin Mining Consumes a Fraction of World Energy Production, Says Mining Council

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On January 18, 2022 the Bitcoin Mining Council (BMC) released results from their Q4 2021 mining sector survey, which focused on three metrics: electricity consumption, sustainable power mix, and technological efficiency. According to the BMC, they were able to gather sustainable energy information from 46% of the global bitcoin mining network - this participation rate is 77% larger than the Q3 2021 participation rate.

The BMC estimates that bitcoin mining consumes 220 TWh of energy while total energy worldwide (minus that lost due to inefficiencies) is 154,750 TWh. That means global bitcoin mining consumes just 0.14% of the world’s energy production. Further, according to the report, 220 TWh pales in comparison to other energy applications, including residential buildings (26,481 TWh), the military industrial complex (6,691 TWh), and aviation (4,046 TWh). In their video presentation, the BMC also noted that bitcoin mining has a small carbon footprint, responsible for just 0.05% of total carbon generation.  

The BMC estimates that the “global mining industry’s sustainable electricity mix had grown to approximately 58.5% during Q4 2021,” representing a 1% increase from Q3 2021. Compared to large nation states, bitcoin mining has a higher sustainable energy mix than Germany (48.5%), the EU (43.5%), Iran (33.7%), the United States (31.4%), and Canada (22.5%). 

The survey data also indicate improvements in technological efficiency in Q4, growing to an estimated 19.3 petahash per MW (a 9% increase from Q3). In Q4 hashrate increased by 27% while electricity consumption increased by only 17%. According to BMC’s video presentation, improvements in efficiency are largely the result of better technology and that as technology improves “the hashrate will grow faster than the electricity consumption.” The BMC estimates that bitcoin mining has become 58 times more efficient over the last 8 years and projects that it will become 24 times more efficient over the next 8 years.          

According to Michael Saylor, CEO of MicroStrategy and co-founder of the BMC,  “This quarter we saw the trend continue with dramatic improvements to Bitcoin mining energy efficiency and sustainability due to advances in semiconductor technology, the rapid expansion to North American mining, the China exodus, and worldwide rotation toward sustainable energy and modern mining techniques.” 

The BMC was founded in May 2021 to promote transparency, share best practices, and educate the public on the benefits of Bitcoin and Bitcoin mining. You can find a summary of their Q4 findings here.

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Daniel is a data scientist who enjoys writing bitcoin and financial content. He is the co-founder of Green Candle Investments, a bitcoin and finance media company.

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