University Clean Energy Technology Researcher: Bitcoin Mining Uses 3x Less Energy Than Banks


University Clean Energy Technology Researcher: Bitcoin Mining Uses 3x Less Energy Than Banks

Across the world, it's a generally accepted fact that climate change is one of the biggest threats that humanity has ever faced. But for many, their sights are set, not on how to resolve it, but who's effectively most to blame for it.

This has resulted in many of us having the wrong kinds of conversations, according to Katrina Kelly-Pitou, a researcher specializing in clean energy research and decarbonized energy systems, the popular debate regarding Bitcoins ongoing network electricity consumption is a matter of barking up the wrong and much smaller tree.

Going over a number of recent studies, which suggest that Bitcoin is responsible for a dramatic increase in consumption of electricity on a global scale, Kelly-Pitou argues that experts are not approaching this matter properly, and are failing to understand the fundamentals behind renewable energy systems:

Electricity production can increase while still maintaining a minimal impact on the environment. Rather than focusing on how much energy Bitcoin uses, the discussion should center around who indeed is producing it – and where their power comes from.

While she doesn’t neglect the substantial amount of electricity used for Bitcoin mining, she also notes that banking alone consumes “an estimated 100 terawatts.”

This figure is far in a way more than three times the energy that Bitcoin mining actually consumes. Kelly-Pitou also makes note of the following:

“If Bitcoin technology were to mature by more than 100 times its current market size, it would still equal only 2 percent of all energy consumption.”

What's the Right Conversation?

Kelly-Pitou has, since the beginning of her research, reiterated the fact that too much attention is being directed towards the energy consumption of Bitcoin's network, and not on the real conversation regarding how much carbon bitcoin mining produces and finding out how to manage that.

Bitcoinist, a news outlet, recently reported on a newer study that concluded that Bitcoin has an energy problem, and it's one that could have adverse effects for the environment due to its potentially high carbon emissions.

While this is a newer study, Kelly-Pitou argues that there has not been sufficient enough evidence to substantiate these claims in any meaningful way. This same opinion is echoed by the Stanford lecturer, Jonathan Koomey, who stated:

“For two decades, people have been eager to overestimate electricity use by computing. My concern is that we simply don’t have adequate data to come to the strong conclusions that he’s coming to.”

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