How much energy does it take to mine one Bitcoin? (March 2018)

in bitcoin •  10 months ago

According to blockchain.info, the current hashrate on the Bitcoin network is: 25,050,000 TH/s. But what does this number actually mean and how can we calculate the energy consumption based on this number? Let's make some calculations...

bitcoinenergy.png

There are of course many different mining ASICs available, but in my calculation I assume that the most used miner is the AntMiner S9. The S9 was released in June 2016 and altough there is better and more energy-effecient hardware available nowadays, the AntMiner S9 is still widely used. For a fairly reliable calculation, I think the S9 can be taken as an average.

The AntMiner S9 is capable of 12,930 GH/s. This means the collective Bitcoin hash rate is equivalent to 1,937,355 AntMiner S9 miners running in parallel.

The AntMiner S9 uses 1375 watt, so in 1 hour it consumes 1.375 kWh.

This means the total power consumption of the Bitcoin network equals 1,937,355 miners * 1.375 kWh = 2,663,863 kWh.

Annual energy consumption

To calculate the annual energy consumption:

2,663,863 kWh * 24 * 365 = 23,335,439,880 kWh = 23.34 TW/h.

To put this 23.34 billion kWh in perspective, the total electric energy consumption in the United States was 3,911 billion in 2015 (source).
The total electricity consumption of the whole world is estimated at 21,776 billion kWh(source). This means that Bitcoin mining accounts for approximately 0.1% of global electricity consumption.

kWh for 1 Bitcoin

On average every 10 minutes a new Bitcoin block is mined and the current block reward is 12.5 Bitcoin.
So for 2,663,863 kWh 75 Bitcoin (6*12.5) is being mined. That equals 35,518 kWh per Bitcoin.

Costs to mine 1 Bitcoin

The costs to mine a Bitcoin highly depends on the price you pay for a kWh electricity. According to eia.gov, the average kWh price in the U.S. is $0.125.

35,518 kWh * $0.125 = $4439,75

TL;DR

The electricity cost to mine one Bitcoin in the U.S. is approximately $4440, but this highly depends on which state you live in. This, of course, does not include hardware and maintenance costs.

Since most miners operate outside the U.S. it’s quite likely that the largest mining operations pay much less than $0.125 for electricity. In addition, if they buy more recent hardware their energy consumption could be more efficient.

If I can make a conclusion here, it is that Bitcoin mining is still very profitable and unless the price drops significantly will probably remain profitable for some time. Factors that will decrease the profitability in the future are the increasing difficulty and the next 'halvening' in 2020.


Sources used:
https://blockchain.info/charts/hash-rate
https://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epm_table_grapher.php?t=epmt_5_6_a
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_electricity_consumption


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Very cool breakdown. It’s still profitable to mine at these prices. Thanks for the post!

How expensive to mine BTC!

I want just to point out a mistake; the measurement unit for energy is kWh. Energy is Power x time, therefore kWh not kW/h. If you calculate energy over a period of time, you might also see it like a kWh/yr.
PS. Self voted to get some visibility.

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Thank you for pointing this out. You're right!
I have edited my post.

More info here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kilowatt_hour

The notation "kW/h" is not a correct symbol for kilowatt hour, as it denotes kilowatt per hour instead.

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Corect! kilowatt per hour!

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Ha ha! Wrong, @kennyroy! "kilowatt hour", not "per hour" as that would mean division by time.

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Am I? Hahaha... I hate this math problem! Hahaha... But I like physics?! LOL

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Since this is where we're talking about mistakes, I hope you don't mind me adding something to the discussion: From a mining perspective, I agree that this is the amount of energy required to create a Bitcoin. Unfortunately, the conclusion doesn't account for the fact, that the energy is primarily used to secure the network and that creation of a Bitcoin is just an incentive. In other words: Mining primarily secures the network, the computational power needed to create the block reward/Bitcoins is minimal and adds almost no additional energy requirement. Which is why, although the calculation is correct and can be applied to mining, I think it's delicate to use it in a general context. Although the energy is used for more than just creating Bitcoin(it's used to secure the network), it still leaves us with the question of whether or not the amount of energy invested is justified.

Hey, @penguinpablo, thanks for indirectly confirming an estimate that was widely bandied about - that bitcoin mining consumes about as much electricity as Ireland - in 2014.

However, one might want to put that in perspective. A single nuclear power plant, the one from Cattenom in France for instance, produces 45% more electricity than the whole bitcoin mining consumes.

If I had the Winklevoss billions I would probably try to go the Canadian great North, in the North Western territories. There's uranium, water to cool down the reactors and barely a soul for hundreds of miles around.
canadagreatnorth.PNG
I would build a nuclear power plant to feed the mother of all bitcoin mining operations, connecting to the internet via satellite uplink.

Yeah, right. And while I'm dreaming, I would like a 1969 Mustang convertible too ...
p79459_large+1969_Mustang_GT_Convertible+Front_Passenger_Side.jpgcredit

@penguinpablo, in other countries like here in Nigeria, electricity alone does not take the main cost of operation. Miners have to pay a lot more for data even peharps much more than electricity.
Most miners here have stopped mining because of this. I hope changes could happen in the way things work arpund here though, but with no idea how.

The•Hooded•Pantomath

Great post, I have seen a lot of fuss made about the electricity consumption of Bitcoin mining, to be fair, as your post states Bitcoin mining does chew an enormous amount of energy. But the criticism I mainly see relates to the future viability of mining when we live in a world where we must shift to sustainable energy sources. In my view this fear is unwarranted for two main reasons;

Solar and other renewables. There is already plenty of talk about running large mining facilities using solar power, this will eliminate the majority of the environmental impact of mining but it wont be cheap to begin with.

Technological advancements. Tech breakthroughs will decrease the cost of parts and increase the efficiency and speed, when considering the pace at which tech is developing today it doesn't take long to see huge improvements.

So looking to the future the network will be virtually free relative to the current financial system with all it's institutions and buildings coupled with the fact it is also broken and as a result, extremely inefficient and wasteful. Maybe the focus should be on just how woeful the current banking system is and why we haven't moved to a decentralised monetary system sooner?

So this means bitcoin mining is not worth now .

When you add in the future cost of cool, one has to wonder is it worth it?

As well as the electricity you have to keep buying hardware. If its a large operation you need somewhere to keep it and possibly people to maintain it. Still looks expensive. It just doesn't seem scalable in the long term. We have alternatives that are much more efficient now. Bitcoin proved the concept of cryptocurrency, but it's time to move on

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Good point, I am stuck in the middle on this one, technology is growing at such a fast rate, perhaps parabolic now if you consider the last 10,000 years? At some point in the near future the costs will be a fraction of what they are now, we won't be able to keep up with the speed of technology itself, renewables will power everything, the hardware running the network will be a hundred and eventually a million times faster. Of course there are other alternatives like POS so going forward we will see which system the market decides.

Bitcoin wouldn't be affected if the hash rate is halved multiple times over. Kind of a waste of electricity.

Great article!
Still quite expensive to mine a Bitcoin but still cheaper than the traditional banking industry costs / charges to deliver us fiat and associated derivatives.
I need only look at Canary Wharf financial district in London at night - all night, to see millions of lights left on in so many buildings, air conditioning and heating still running, computers and mobile phone charges still stuck in plug sockets left on with no phone.

And that is just at night!

Don't let anyone fool you into thinking Bitcoin is expensive to deliver.
Cryptocurrency mining, I am sure, will eventually be proven to be the cheapest form of currency / monitory delivery in history.

-Looking at the cost of moving Gold and Silver 2000 years ago to the cost of delivery of all the derivatives of our current financial system.

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I agree. I read that it takes over 100 TWh of energy alone to extract all new gold that is produced in a year. Gold is just a small part of the wider global financial system.

That is absolute insanity to spend that much electricity but i guess it gives each bitcoin some sort of tangible value besides what people are willing to pay for it on the market

I wonder how staking vs mining will fair as cryptocurrencies advance

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Remember hardware parts are decreasing in price and increasing in performance so it will be interesting to see what happens over the next decade, what looks to be a burden to the Bitcoin protocol now might not be such an issue in 10 or even 5 years time.

wow! It's amazing information @penguinpablo,
This much energy is needed to mine only 1 bitcoin :o
It's horrible.
Thanks for the information.

According to these calculations in venezuela it is super profitable to mine btc, the electricity costs are very low, I will try to do my calculations based on these formulas, thank you for the data. Sorry my translation didn't speak the language.

The Bitcoin price will raise again. maybe not this year above 20.00 but next year!

virtual currency, bitcoin, this year record Exchange rate highest of all time of US $ 4.909 per pieces or around USD 60 millions. the more people are interested in cryptocurrency it. there are two ways to get bitcoin. first, buy directly on the site that provides currency Exchange physical with virtual currency. second. by way of mine. two ways the equally need capital, stay just select a way which is preferred. Nice @penguinpablo

Hi @penguinpablo
Thank you for writing. I also want to own a BTC but because I am still a student and sitting on the school chair does not have enough money to invest it. I hope you also introduce the ways to own a BTC in my future.

Price found buyers at $8400. The buyers took out the sellers at $9350 and battling the sellers at $10000. If this happens a new uptrend started.

If price can take out the $12000 level, we will have a new uptrend on the daily time frame.

If price can get to my 3rd target at $17000 and beyond, electricity cost will be just the cost of doing business.

difficulty set to increase in 2020 to! followed!

Wonderful bro 💕 You have new Follower now @penguinpablo

Nothing changes...you need to be rich to be rich

Very nice information I am from India can u calculate how much INR I Need To Invest For 1 year Of mining

Omg never seen behind the stat's of that nice work done @penguinpablo very hard to mine a bitcoin currently with no very less profit as compared

Do you think some form of Proof of Stake may replace Proof of Work anytime soon? I don't really like the consumption Proof of Work could create on a larger scale, or is there some sort of solution for the possible increasing energy consumption? Then again PoS seems a bit lackluster to me as well. Anyway nicely precise calcutions!

That's why I'm doing cloud mining, no dealing with electric company on my end.

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You may not pay it directly but your payment to cloud mining will invariably include cost of electricity.

Over 9000!

Hi @penguinpablo, I found one infographic about the cost of 1 BTC mining due to various electricity cost in different countries. I know that's not polite to put the link to post here, but anyway, I hope it's interesting: Cost Of 1 Bitcoin Mining

If bitcoin ever drop below $3500.... hmmm. But lightning could solve this problem... Where there is a problem, people will find a solution.

31EC9DE7-CBBD-4E66-A624-EDED6E812F92.jpeg

Mining only seems wasteful until you compare the costs against what it replaces. I have encountered exciting discussions on POW's synergies with renewables.

Nice roundup of data

Mining of BTC or any crypto is prefered in the mid. east like United Arab Emirates! The electricity here is free and the cost is less if ever... I would like to buy ANT MINER but I need to research more how to assemble this things and what else do I need?

Thank you, describing the thought process was enlightening for me.

Well never thought of it that way !Thanks for bringing the whole sum up !While it still is profitable though ;)

Did a similar analysis but back in November/December which used electricity prices as motiff for valuing bitcoin, and we arrived at around $900 per bitcoin. Didn't post the method, but still stand by it as an approximation for where bitcoin is headed eventually in the near/medium term.

I am really not so sure about this. But I do know that it is no longer worthy, as the cost is just too high and even the price is almost stuck. I believe it is far better and more beneficial if we go ahead with better options to gain. It is better to look at upcoming ICOs and Multiversum is the latest trending thing. It’s the 4th Generation Blockchain platform with some incredible features; it is a kind of option that you simply can’t miss! https://www.multiversum.io/