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

The debate about Bitcoin’s energy consumption is back in the news. Ethereum founder Anthony Donofrio claimed that Bitcoin uses “way too much” energy.

Digiconomist figures show that Bitcoin (BTC), currently consumes 0.82% of the world’s power, while Ethereum (ETH), uses 0.34%. Justin Drake, an Ethereum researcher, posted the following figures to his 56,000 followers. Donofrio also retweeted them.

Bitcoin is using almost 1% of all the energy on Earth, which is quite a lot for a pet rock.
— Texture, PhD (@iamtexture), June 9, 2022

Ethereum supporters are trying to attack Bitcoin, while simultaneously promoting Ethereum’s transition to proof-of–stake. Drake later added another tweet that said: “Ethereum Post-merge: 0.000% Of World.”

The validity of these figures is however questionable.

Drake had to admit that there were other sources of data when he tweeted later, estimating that energy consumption was only about 60% lower.

Digiconomist has been criticised by blockchain professionals for sourcing data from them. The publication claims it exposes the unintended consequences digital trends. Josh Stark, a fellow Ethereum developer, criticized Digiconomist for presenting the worst case scenario in relation to blockchain technology.

Stark posted a Twitter thread in November 2017 that challenged Digiconimist’s research methodology. Stark noted that nearly all of the numbers concerning blockchain power consumption were at “very high ends” of any theoretical outcome. This is especially true when compared with more rigorous sources such as the University of Cambridge.

Digiconomist claims Bitcoin consumes 204 TWh (TWh) of electricity annually. However, the University of Cambridge’s Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index estimates that Bitcoin actually consumes 125 TWh. This is a 39% decrease.

Related: Are we misinformed about Bitcoin mining’s environmental impact? Slush Pool CMO Kristian Csepcsar explains

Although it is well-known that Bitcoin’s Proof-of-Work consensus mechanism consumes energy, the debate over how much power the Bitcoin network actually uses continues to be hot.

Cointelegraph reports that it can be difficult to put a precise number on Bitcoin’s power consumption due to the wide range of energy sources used for Bitcoin mining.

Nearly 60% of global mining operations are powered by renewable energy sources as of January 2018. Bitcoin miners are now attempting to use “stranded” natural resources instead of burning them off. CoinShares published a January report that found Bitcoin mining could account for 0.8% of global CO2 emissions by 2021.

Cointelegraph was told by Sam Tabar (chief security officer at Bit Digital), a publicly traded Bitcoin mining company that claims the environmental impacts of Bitcoin are often exaggerated.

Critics and traditional financial authorities (IMF) have exaggerated the environmental impact of Bitcoin mining. Because they know that they can divide a counterculture movement using fake environmental arguments. They want to gaslight us all. They try to gaslight the world using fake green arguments. I can understand why. They don’t want the power that comes with a system that is only for the elite to be lost.

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