Bitcoin Mining Consume Too Much Electricity, Miners Cry For An Energy Saving Solution
Sudden huge profits from bitcoin mining attracts an influx of miners. In the meantime, analysts are concerned that bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining causes too much electricity. Moreover, since the price of bitcoin has been on an absolute tear since November and the electricity costs becomes so high that small-scale miners cannot make much profit from bitcoin mining.
According to a report from energy supply information website Power Compare, as of 20 November, the digital currencies estimated annual electricity consumption is 29.05 terawatts per hour (TWh). Mining electricity usage is ranking above 159 individual countries. For instance, Ireland currently consumes an estimated 25 TWh of electricity per year, and bitcoin mining consumption is 16% more than it.
These data is incredible and people starts to wondering why bitcoin mining causes so much energy usage. Cao Junwei, vice president of Information Technology Institute at Tsinghua University, demonstrated that: “Bitcoin mining machine is a special computer in essence. Power consumption of integrated circuit becomes the mainly issue that causes electricity usage.”
The addition of new blocks is regulated and the requirements places on the computer hardware. In order to keep adding a new block in every 10 minutes, mining hardware needs more power and the bitcoin algorithm adds more zeros to the required number at the beginning of a hash. At present, large-scale mining machines are more concentrated, so the total energy requirement becomes huge.
A Chinese miner have done a calculation: keep running his mining machine 24 hours a day, he can get 0.0018 bitcoin. Thus, it takes about 556 days to mine one bitcoin. The daily power usage of the mining machines is 32.4 kWh and the daily cost of electricity is about 16.8 yuan, ($2.67 USD) so the cost of mining 1 bitcoin is about 9367 yuan ($1487 USD). Bitcoin miners are crying for a energy conservation solution.
In Cao Junwei’s opinion, the power consumption issues is correlated with the underlying integrated circuits. As chip technology develops, more and more devices are placed on the integrated circuits, the functions are getting more complex, while the circuit power consumption is also getting higher and higher.
Cao Junwei added, from the software level, the power consumption can be effected by algorithm design and software efficiency. From the system level, the network structure and the efficient. There are also many environmental factors, which may related to cooling systems.
Cao Junwei also suggested that scientists may provide long term power saving solutions through quantum computing and new semiconductor materials to push through limitations of Moore’s Law.