The enemies of bitcoin have a new spokesperson in the person of Bill Gates. Asked by the New York Times, the founder of Microsoft believes that “Bitcoin is not good for the climate”. Indeed, the energy consumption would be far too high. “Bitcoin uses more electricity per transaction than any other method known to mankind”, he believes.
This criticism is not new. There are regular studies that pinpoint the energy hunger of the bitcoin network. The latest, carried out by Alex de Vries, warns of the deleterious consequences of strong growth in the price of bitcoin. The more it increases, the more miners will invest in their infrastructure and their electricity consumption, due to the strong competition that exists between them.
With bitcoin at more than $ 55,000, as is currently the case, the energy consumption that miners will be able to “afford” is around 200 TWh per year, which is the equivalent of the energy consumption of all data centers around the world. The carbon footprint of such consumption is comparable to that of a large metropolis such as London.
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Obviously, it all also depends on what type of energy is used. If the mining equipment runs on green energy only, Bill Gates might be ready to change his mind. “If it’s green electricity and it doesn’t crowd out other uses, maybe it’s OK”, says Bill Gates.
Sources : NYT, Alex de Vries