The United States will urgently study the energy consumption of
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The United States will urgently study the energy consumption of crypto miners

The American authorities have authorized a program to study the electricity consumption of cryptocurrency miners; it will be implemented on an “emergency” basis. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) at the US Department of Energy will collect and analyze data on the use of the country’s energy resources by cryptocurrency mining companies within six months.

  Image source: Liam Ortiz / pixabay.com

Image source: Liam Ortiz / pixabay.com

The EIA justified the urgent nature of the work entrusted to the agency by interruptions in heat supply, presumably related to the increase in the cost of Bitcoin, which, in turn, became an incentive to intensify mining. The situation is aggravated by the sharp cooling in the country, due to which the demand for electricity has jumped.

Bitcoin and some other cryptocurrencies operate on a Proof-of-Work model, which describes the process of verifying transactions, adding them to the blockchain, and paying rewards to miners. Mining equipment is busy solving complex mathematical problems, and it is characterized by high energy consumption. In 2022, the Ethereum network, the second cryptocurrency by market capitalization after Bitcoin, switched to a much more economical Proof-of-Stake model.

Digiconimist, which has been tracking the electricity consumption of the Bitcoin network for many years, estimates that the blockchain now consumes about 138 TWh per year – the record was set in the first half of 2022 at around 205 TWh per year. One transaction on the network requires about 762.89 kWh, which would last the average American household 26.15 days. With such high power consumption, a lot of heat is generated, which means an absurd amount of water is used for cooling – 12,023 liters per transaction. And the entire Bitcoin network consumes as much water per year as Switzerland. Bitcoin’s electricity consumption rises and falls along with the prices of the largest cryptocurrency. Last year, it mostly went up in price, which means it became more voracious.

  Image source: MichaelWuensch / pixabay.com

Image source: MichaelWuensch / pixabay.com

Next week, the EIA will begin surveying 82 U.S. mining companies that will require them to provide detailed information about their energy consumption, including how much electricity is generated specifically for them. The department assured the resource The Register, that within the framework of the research project it is not envisaged to take any administrative measures – for now we are only talking about collecting information. Management specialists plan to create a basic picture of miners and their energy consumption; quantify how much such companies’ energy consumption fluctuates; identify energy sources and regions where mining is concentrated.

The EIA estimates that cryptocurrency mining accounts for between 0.6% and 2.3% of all energy consumption in the United States. The agency’s mandate to study the mining industry expires on July 31, 2024. Based on the results of the next six months, a decision will be made whether the agency will receive funding for further collection and processing of this kind of data.

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Robbie Elmers

Robbie Elmers is a staff writer for Tech News Space, covering software, applications and services.

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