A study suggests that the Bitcoin network has already consumed more power this year than it did during the entire year of 2020.
Bloomberg reported on Sept. 13 that Bitcoin will have consumed more than 91 TW/h (terawatt-hours, or a trillion watts per hour) by the end of the year, exceeding the 67 TW/h predicted for all of 2020.
It's not easy to calculate energy consumption figures with precision, but the trend is clear - it's going up. By the end of this year, BTC is expected to consume even more energy than the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index estimates. The Philippines consumes about the same amount of electricity.
A separate study by ScienceDirect identifies electronic waste as another problem. Electronics and computer equipment that has been discarded are commonly called e-waste.
Every transaction on the Bitcoin network releases about 272 grams of electronic waste, primarily old mining equipment.
As of May 2021, the bitcoin mining industry generated 30.7 metric kilotons of e-waste, according to the report. These miners used short-lived hardware, contributing to the growth of global e-waste production.
In its projection for the year ending this year, the study stated:
The peak Bitcoin price levels in early 2021 might generate 64,400 tons [64,444 metric tons] of e-waste.
Each transaction generates about half as much e-waste as an iPad. To put that into perspective, Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, said last year that over 1.65 billion devices run on the ecosystem, which could drastically increase their e-waste problem.
According to Statista, the pioneer crypto-asset makes up about 0.11% of the estimated global total for e-waste in 2021, which is 57.4 million metric tons.
Depending on your perspective, Bitcoin's energy usage is also small. Bitcoin mining accounts for just 0.43% of the global electricity consumption. According to Cambridge University, that's less than the estimated 104 TW/h used by refrigerators alone in the U.S.
Since the great miner migration out of China, bitcoin mining consumes a mammoth amount of energy. However, since relocating to the United States and Canada, more of it is renewable due to the development of new green energy farms and factories.