Bitcoin’s real energy use questioned as Ethereum founder criticizes BTC

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Ethereum’s founding member Anthony Donofrio claimed that bitcoin is using “too much” energy, re-igniting the ever-raging debate about bitcoin’s energy consumption.

According to data from Digiconomist, Bitcoin (BTC) currently uses 0.82% of the world’s power while Ethereum (ETH) uses 0.34%. Ethereum researcher Justin Drake posted stats for his 56,000 followers that Donofrio retweetedby stating:

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Ethereum proponents are attempting to take a shot at bitcoin, as well as promoting Ethereum’s upcoming transition to proof-of-stake, Drake added. Tweet Moments later it read: “Ethereum post-merge: 0.0000% world.”

However, the validity of the data is in doubt.

Even Drake was forced to acknowledge alternative sources of data in a later tweet, which estimated the energy consumption figures to be about 60% lower.

Data sourced from Digiconomist, which markets itself as a platform to “expose the unintended consequences of digital trends,” has drawn criticism from blockchain industry professionals in the past. The most notable of which is fellow Ethereum developer Josh Stark, who called out the publication for presenting a worst-case scenario when it comes to blockchain technology.

In November last year, Stark published a Twitter thread Which questioned the accuracy of the Digiconimist’s research method. Stark pointed out that almost all data relating to blockchain power consumption was on the “very high end” of any theoretical result, especially when compared to more rigorous sources such as the University of Cambridge.

Where Digiconomist claims that bitcoin currently consumes 204 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity per year, the University of Cambridge’s Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index estimates that the actual consumption of bitcoin is closer to 125 TWh, a 39% difference.

related: Are we misled about the environmental impacts of bitcoin mining? Slush Pool CMO Kristian Seppser Explains,

While it may be a well-known fact that bitcoin’s proof-of-work consensus mechanism is an energy-consuming process, discussions about how much power the bitcoin network actually uses remains a hot-button issue.

According to a report by Cointelegraph, it can be quite difficult to put a specific number on the actual electricity consumption of bitcoin because of the variation in the energy sources that power bitcoin mining on a global scale.

As of January this year, nearly 60% of global mining operations were powered by renewable energy sources, and bitcoin mining operators are rushing to make use of “trapped” natural gas resources that typically burn. Additionally, a report published by CoinShares in January this year found that bitcoin mining could account for just 0.08% of the world’s total CO2 emissions in 2021.

Sam Tauber, chief security officer of publicly traded bitcoin mining company Bit Digital, told Cointelegraph that the environmental impact of bitcoin is often exaggerated by critics:

“The environmental impact of bitcoin mining is largely exaggerated by critics and traditional financial authorities (IMF, etc.) because they know they can split a new counterculture movement using fake environmental arguments. They pit us against each other. Trying to gaslight. They light up the world with fake green arguments, and I understand why: they don’t want to lose influence on the levers of power of a system that works only for the elite.”