Bitcoin mining now appears highly sustainable in terms of energy consumption contrary to previous criticisms, with the latest data from the Bitcoin Mining Council showing that as much as 46% of miners were using efficient power sources and methods of mining the cryptocurrency by the last day of 2021.
Based on data collected by the council during Q4 of 2021, the sustainable power mix used in mining the cryptocurrency has reached 66.1%. Bitcoin mining technology is also 9% more efficient than it was in Q3 of 2021 – up to 19.3 petahashes per MW.
“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 of North American mining, the China Exodus, and worldwide rotation toward sustainable energy and modern mining techniques,” said MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor, who started the Bitcoin Mining Council alongside over 17 reputable Bitcoin mining companies.
BMC members now contribute 77% of the Bitcoin mining hash rate. The new report will seek to present Bitcoin mining as a more acceptable operation in terms of energy efficiency because this is sometimes given as a reason for derailing its adoption and utilization.
There have been some criticisms that Bitcoin uses more electricity than many countries singlehandedly. Some people have called for abolishing cryptocurrency as the world turns on climate actions. In fact, the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index exhibits that Bitcoin mining utilizes 122.87 Terawatt-hours of electricity every year—more than the Netherlands, Argentina, or the United Arab Emirates. Digiconomist also released data showing that a single Bitcoin transaction uses 2,106.37 kilowatt-hours of electricity that could be utilized by an average American home in around 72.2 days. This energy consumption is expected to grow over time as more people adopt Bitcoin as a means of payment.
However, it is obviously misguided to judge an operation based on total electricity consumed without taking into consideration the sources which also provide an additional clue on how green and sustainable the energy an operation uses is. Yet, cryptocurrencies like Ethereum, which have been utilizing proof of work, are now shifting to proof of stake protocol, and this will cut the energy expended in creating new coins and transacting the crypto by 99.95%.
Bitcoin may not have the leisure to shift to a proof of stake protocol but there is more to be done according to proponents, including shifting more and more mining operations to areas with renewable energy. Furthermore, a good number of Bitcoin mining farms help societies in better utilization of electricity during times when and in places where it is produced in surplus.