Unlike regular cash, Bitcoin needs electricity to be used and a new tool created by the University of Cambridge attempts to estimate how much power Bitcoin uses.
Before we dive into the figure we must share the University of Cambridge’s qualification for this data –
“Bitcoin’s total electricity consumption is annualised assuming constant power usage over the period of one year. A 7-day moving average is applied to the annualised estimate in order to smoothen the impact of short-term hashrate volatility and enable better comparisons with other uses of electricity,” the university explained.
At time of writing the entire Bitcoin network is estimated to be using 7.15 gigawatts of power. At that rate Bitcoin’s network would use 59.19 terawatt-hours (TWh) per year.
Comparing that the amount of power entire nations use, Bitcoin uses more power than Switzerland (58.46TWh) or Kuwait (57.78TWh) but less than Czechia (62.34TWh).
South Africa uses an estimated 207.1TWh per year which means we use 349.89 percent more power than the entire Bitcoin network.
The University of Cambridge also compared the Bitcoin power usage to other uses. For instance, the power used by the cryptocurrency’s network could power always-on but inactive home devices in the US for four years.
The same power could boil all tea kettles in the UK for 11 years and power the university itself for 365 years.
Something rather incredible to make note of is how much Bitcoin’s power demand has increased since 2014. Just five years ago Bitcoin was using an annualised average of 1.96TWh.
You can visit the University of Cambridge’s website to check the tool out for yourself and see how the power usage changes every 30 seconds.
In the time it’s taken to write this story the amount of power the network is using dropped to 4.06GW from 7.15GW it was earlier.