The Bitcoin Mining Council brings together 51 miners representing 45% of the computing power of the Bitcoin network. Summary of its last quarterly report.
BTC mining: 60% renewable energy
Bitcoin uses an insignificant amount of the world’s energy (0.16%) and its share in CO2 emissions is even more negligible (0.10%). The reason being that the electricity used by BTC miners comes from nearly 60% renewable energy.
The computing power allocated to securing the Bitcoin network has soared 73% year-on-year. However, its power consumption only increased by 41%. This difference is explained by a 23% increase in the energy efficiency of the mining.
Much of this efficiency gain can be explained by Moore’s “law” according to which the density of transistors in microprocessors doubles every two years due to advances in technology.
Mining machines today use 5 nm chips and, by 2027, 1.4 nm chips if we are to believe the world leader TSMC.
Moore’s “law” and the fact that the reward paid to miners is halved every four years (halving) significantly curb the energy consumption of bitcoin.
Which allows us to say in passing that the security of the Bitcoin network does not only depend on the amount of energy injected. It is also a function of technological advances in semiconductors used to generate hashes (Proof-of-Work).
The BMC estimates that the amount of electricity required to maintain the current level of security of the Bitcoin network will be reduced by 24 within eight years.
Obviously, if the value of bitcoin multiplies by 24 in the same time, electricity consumption will stagnate. Indeed, an appreciation of the BTC makes it profitable to connect more machines.
In view of these figures, we are very far from making “boil the oceans”. Not to mention the fact that bitcoin is the best technology for extinguishing methane flares and thus participating in the fight against global warming. More information HERE.
Furthermore, miner Ben Gagnon pointed out during the presentation of the report that we will have from this quarter a 40% increase in the energy efficiency of the machines. This is thanks to the arrival of the S19XP antiminers which boast an energy efficiency of 21.5 watts per Terahash, against 29.5 W/Th for its predecessor S19Pro.
The BMC did not fail to notice that ethereum has just abandoned the race for hashrate. Now bitcoin is “100 times more secure than all of the competing cryptocurrencies combined”.
Another way to look at it is that the combined computing power of Google, Amazon and Azure is less than 1% of that of bitcoin miners. This gigantic discrepancy is due to the fact that miners use ASICs (Application-Specific Integrated Circuit) specially dedicated to the SHA-256 algorithm.
Bitcoin stabilizes power grids
The BMC completed its quarterly report with a presentation by Romain Nouzareth about the usefulness of bitcoin mining to solidify power grids.
The big challenge for energy companies is to be able to withstand consumption peaks. The latter oblige them to maintain many power plants that are economically unprofitable, but necessary to avoid the blackout during peaks.
All this to say that the demand for electricity is not constant over time. On a daily scale, consumption peaks occur in the early morning and evening. The explanation is simple: these times are when people are at home.
The weekend is less energy-intensive since industries are generally idling. Added to this is the climatic factor responsible for seasonal peaks. They intervene in winter (heating), but also in summer during heat waves (air conditioning).
Romain Nouzareth explains:
“We are the only digital industry in the world that can stop consuming electricity all of a sudden. This is not the case with the data centers of Google or Amazon which operate permanently.
For example, in Quebec, where we operate 20 megawatts of energy, we stop our machines mainly during winter peaks. When the population needs heat because it is cold, theenergy company can ask us to arrest our minors. We do it for a number of hours every year, mostly in the winter.
This is an excellent way for the energy company to sell electrons that it did not sell before. Let’s take an example: you are a municipality of 20,000 households and you have access to 100 MW of energy. You never want to use your network at 100% [il faut une marge en cas de très gros pics]. So you’re going to bump it up to 80 megawatts. In summer, the municipality will use a power of 60 megawatts and in winter, because it is cold, 80 megawatts.
Before having bitcoin miners on this network, the energy company sold 60 megawatts in summer and 80 megawatts in winter. With us on the network, he will be able to sell an amount closer to 80 megawatts all the time. This means more revenue for the municipality and the energy company [qui pourra investir cet argent pour remplacer ses sources d’énergie carbonée par des sources d’énergie renouvelable]. »
Of course, in Quebec, most of the energy is of hydraulic origin (run-of-river dams), so that the energy consumed by the miners does not emit CO2.
Let’s finish by recalling that miners are encouraged to settle where electricity is the cheapest. This electricity necessarily comes from a surplus of renewable energy. Let it be said, bitcoin is an asset for the energy transition!
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