Bitcoin miners are one major new presence eating up electricity from the US grid, and their numbers are expanding day by day.
According to a new study, the United States has surpassed China as the top worldwide destination for bitcoin mining, and as a result, energy consumption is increasing. The United States has now the world’s #1 destination for bitcoin miners, with energy consumption more than doubling since April.
According to Gizmodo, research was published as part of a data update to the Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index (BECI) at the Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance, looks at the impact of the crackdown on bitcoin mining in China, which in June issued bans across much of the country. The government officially made crypto transactions illegal in September as well. Before the crackdown, China was home to the majority of the world’s bitcoin mining.
However. Between April and August, data collected by the BECI show, the U.S. has more than doubled its share of the global bitcoin hashrate—the measure of bitcoin computing power on the network, a way to measure mining activity—increasing from 16.8% in April to a huge 35.4% by the end of August. The U.S. is followed closely by Kazakhstan with 18.1% and Russia with 11%. China’s share of the hashrate, meanwhile, dropped from 38% to near zero, suggesting that miners basically packed up and decamped en masse. That’s an incredible drop from a high of more than 75% of the global hashrate back in September 2019.
In September, BECI estimates that miners around the world used about 8 terawatt-hours of electricity (1 terawatt equals 1 trillion watts); Quartz did the math for the U.S. miners, finding that at September demand rates, bitcoin miners in the U.S. are set to consume 35 terawatt-hours a year, double their projected energy use in April. The entire U.S.—all of our activity combined—consumed 4,222.5 terawatt hours in 2018; In that context that’s a lot of energy for just one industry that cranks out pretend internet money. (Quartz estimated that it’s about three times the electricity use of the entire country of Sri Lanka.)
In contrast to China’s crackdown, some states in the United States have lately made a concerted effort to recruit bitcoin miners. As a result, demand in the United States may rise even further. Texas politicians are thrilled about bitcoin, with Gov. Greg Abbott and Sen. Ted Cruz arguing that cryptocurrency mining may improve the state’s struggling energy infrastructure. Well, that’s absurd!
In Florida, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez is a self-proclaimed bitcoin enthusiast who has pitched the state’s nuclear power facilities as an inducement for miners to relocate to the Sunshine State. New York’s legislature considered prohibiting mining for a few years to study its environmental impact, but the plan was mainly defeated by sympathetic politicians as the state became more of a bitcoin hotspot. Miners in Texas and New York, at least, often rely on fossil fuels, whether coal or natural gas.