Inside the World of Chinese Bitcoin 'Mining'

Bitcoin is demanding the same amount of electricity as Nigeria

24.5 TWh

The surging price of bitcoin means miners could profitably use up to 24.5 terawatt-hours—equivalent to the electricity demand of Nigeria.

Published   |  Photo by Liu Xingzhe/ChinaFile/EPA
Inside the World of Chinese Bitcoin 'Mining'
24.5 TWh

Bitcoin miners build and maintain a permanent ledger of every transaction that uses the cryptocurrency, known as a blockchain.

Inside the World of Chinese Bitcoin 'Mining'
24.5 TWh

They first have to complete a cryptographic puzzle that requires lots of computer power, and are rewarded with a daily haul of bitcoins created by the system

Inside the World of Chinese Bitcoin 'Mining'
24.5 TWh

Bitcoin transactions in 2016

Inside the World of Chinese Bitcoin 'Mining'
24.5 TWh

The rising price of bitcoins—they’re now worth more than $7,300—means that miners chasing the reward could profitably use massive amounts of electricity.

Inside the World of Chinese Bitcoin 'Mining'
24.5 TWh

It averages out to 215 kilowatt-hours for every bitcoin transaction—that’s enough to run a US house and all its appliances for almost a week.

Inside the World of Chinese Bitcoin 'Mining'
24.5 TWh

Bitcoin price in 2017

Inside the World of Chinese Bitcoin 'Mining'
24.5 TWh

Early in the history of bitcoin, one miner was able to solve the puzzle alone. But as the cryptocurrency got pricier, problems got harder, demanding more computer power.

Inside the World of Chinese Bitcoin 'Mining'
24.5 TWh

Miners are now spending some $1.2 billion to maintain their operations. But as long as bitcoin’s value keeps rising, that investment makes economic sense.

Inside the World of Chinese Bitcoin 'Mining'
24.5 TWh

The bitcoin network’s processing power

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