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Climate goals will fail as long as cryptocurrency exists

Ben Kritz

The minimum energy usage attributable to Bitcoin activity, as of this week, is 43.8 terawatt-hours (TWh) per year, and its estimated actual energy demand is 176.83 TWh per year, according to Digiconomist. For comparison, that estimate is the equivalent of a bit more than 16 weeks of average energy usage in the entire Philippines (based on the total usage of 562 TWh in 2019, according to Department of Energy data).

 A 2018 study by researchers from the University of Hawaii and published in the journal Nature conservatively estimated (based on 2017 data) that emissions related to Bitcoin alone would contribute 2 degrees Celsius to global warming by 2048, if its energy demand remained at the same level, which it has not; Bitcoin energy use has increased by between 282 percent and 432 percent since the end of 2017.