An anonymous reader quotes a report from the BBC: Bitcoin uses as much energy as the whole of Switzerland, a new online tool from the University of Cambridge shows. The tool makes it easier to see how the crypto-currency network’s energy usage compares with other entities. However, one expert argued that it was the crypto-currency’s carbon footprint that really mattered. Currently, the tool estimates that Bitcoin is using around seven gigawatts of electricity, equal to 0.21% of the world’s supply. That is as much power as would be generated by seven Dungeness nuclear power plants at once. Over the course of a year, this equates to roughly the same power consumption as Switzerland. “The University of Cambridge tool models the economic lifetime of the world’s Bitcoin miners,” the report adds. “It uses an average electricity price per kilowatt hour ($0.05) and the energy demands of the Bitcoin network. Finally, the model assumes that all the Bitcoin mining machines worldwide are working with various efficiencies.”
A study published last month in the scientific journal Joule found that the electricity used for Bitcoin produces about 22 megatons for CO2 annually. That is as much as Kansas City in the U.S.