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DailyBubble News

How do we solve bitcoin’s energy problem?

Cryptocurrencies are becoming increasingly popular, but one aspect of bitcoin mining is raising concerns due to its high energy consumption. Bitcoin mining and transactions require a significant amount of energy, making it unsustainable in the long run.

Since its creation in 2008, bitcoin has gained popularity among mainstream investors. As more investors and transactions occur, the energy required to run the currency also increases. The high cost of mining and the growing number of transactions mean that the energy consumption of bitcoin is comparable to that of entire countries.

Blockchain, the decentralized principle behind bitcoin, requires different computers to verify transactions. Each computer stores identical copies of previous transactions, making mining bitcoin more challenging as the difficulty increases.

The energy consumption of bitcoin is due to its encryption and verification processes. Nodes complete the encryption, and a unique ‘nonce’ number is assigned to each block in the blockchain. Finding the nonce requires significant computational power, making bitcoin mining energy-intensive.

Miners are rewarded with bitcoin for their efforts in securing transactions. The competitive nature of mining means that miners race to process high-value transactions, leading to a constant need for computing power.

Overall, the increasing energy consumption of bitcoin mining raises concerns about its sustainability in the long term. As the popularity of cryptocurrencies continues to grow, finding more energy-efficient solutions for mining will be crucial. As the number of bitcoins in circulation increases, the competition to mine new bitcoins intensifies. The reward for mining new bitcoins decreases over time, with the amount per bitcoin mined being halved periodically. This means that speed is essential in the race to mine bitcoins, as more miners join the competition, making it harder to be the first to find the correct code. Having a powerful computer is crucial in this competitive environment.

Bitcoin mining requires a significant amount of processing power, which in turn requires a lot of energy. Depending on where you live and the cost of energy, the expenses of powering the necessary processors may outweigh the profits from mining bitcoins. Research conducted by ING revealed that the energy consumption for one bitcoin transaction could be equivalent to a monthly energy bill for an entire house. Miners typically charge around 200 kilowatt hours per transaction, which can be costly at 0.25 euros per kilowatt hour.

In comparison, Ethereum, another popular cryptocurrency, consumes approximately 37 kilowatt hours per transaction. While this is lower than bitcoin, it is still a considerable amount, especially if cryptocurrency is to be used for everyday transactions like purchasing coffee.

If each person were to make about five cryptocurrency transactions per day, the amount of block information downloaded to ensure security could be substantial. According to Computerworld, this could result in downloading 672GB of block information annually per user.

One proposed solution to the energy consumption issue is transitioning bitcoin from a proof of work system to a proof of stake system. In a proof of work system, the miner who solves the puzzle first receives the reward, while in a proof of stake system, the person with the most bitcoins gets to create the next block.

Currently, bitcoin holds the highest value among cryptocurrencies, leading to more investment in blockchain development for bitcoin compared to other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum. However, as other cryptocurrencies develop secure and robust systems, this landscape could change rapidly.

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