Does Bitcoin Mining Use a Large Amount of Electricity?

Bitcoin mining uses electricity because computers are running solving math problems as fast as possible.  In the early days of Bitcoin computers and then graphic cards are used for Bitcoin mining.  These are being replaced with specialized chips made specifically for Bitcoin mining (ASICs – Application-Specific Integrated Circuits).  These use significantly less electricity but there is still a significant amount of electricity used.

The electricity goes towards recording the transactions and securing the system.  It is an extremely complicated comparison to other currencies and payment systems.  For instance, pressing coins and printing money uses a significant amount of resources as well as transporting it.  Banks, credit cards, and PayPal all expend significant resources in tracking fraud which does not exist in Bitcoin.  Recent stories that claim that Bitcoin is an “environmental disaster” is a gross exaggeration.

The statistics at are based on 650 Watts per GigaHash.  New Bitcoin  miners (such as Avalon asics) operates at 625 watts for a 65 GigaHash unit or about 10 Watts per GigaHash.  Our articles shows that in a few months the electricity usage will be about 120 megawatt-hours, about 5% of what is being estimated today.

6 comments to Does Bitcoin Mining Use a Large Amount of Electricity?

  • If your house is heated electrically and you’re paying for the heat there is no cost to mine bitcoins in your home. The power does not go anywhere, it’s simply converted to heat.

    • MillyBitcoin

      I am doing that now but come spring my first generation ASIC’s will be junk already.

    • micko

      LOL what…. pc cant heat the house in any efficient way……. so it will not be enough for your house you will still need the heater plus your pc on which means more power because fans need to spin faster….

      • MillyBitcoin

        You are correct. They are not PC’s but rather specialized computers with fans that run at a relatively high speed at all times. It is not efficient and you still have to move the air around the house. they also use much more electricity than just running my normal heater. However, it is offsetting the heating bill so if the miner is nearing its break-even point that extends its life a little longer.

  • prolom

    The old miners are not going out of business. They mine Litecoin or whatever altcoin they can. So it’s still an environmental disaster. Bitcoin was the first currency to get traction but all the Radeons out there are mining Litecoin and other scrypt base “currencies” as we speak (Jan 2014). I don’t think anyone can measure the actual electricity being consumed.

    • MillyBitcoin

      Running payment systems like paypal and Visa also takes a large amount of resources, electricity, buildings, fraud prevention activities, etc. Are these activities also an environmental disaster? it is hard to compare the energy use of these competing activities but I don’t how one of them can automatically be a disaster.

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