The bitcoin mining network has gradually switched to green energy. Here is what percentage of the network is sustainable today.
52.6% of the Bitcoin mining network now uses sustainable energy
One of the most discussed controversies surrounding cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin has been their potential negative impact on the environment. BTC uses a “Proof-of-Work” (PoW) consensus system to validate transactions on the blockchain. This means that chain validators, called miners, compete against each other and use massive amounts of computing power to be the first to solve a math puzzle and set transfers in the next block.
Miners need specialized computing units for this purpose, which can be performance-hungry. As the Bitcoin network has grown over the years, the energy consumption of the chain has only increased.
For this reason, a study on how the BTC network is progressing in terms of switching to green energy sources is important. An analyst on Twitter, Daniel Batten, has teamed up with analyst Willy Woo to create charts showing the relevant data on Bitcoin’s sustainability.
Here is the first of the graphs showing how the percentage of the grid using sustainable energy has changed in recent years:
Looks like the metric has been growing a lot lately | Source: Daniel Batten on Twitter
As illustrated in the chart above, the bitcoin network has made some major strides in transitioning to a greener side in recent years. Sustainable energy sources now power more than 50% of the grid.
Interestingly, overall network emissions have been trending downwards for quite some time, even though miners’ power consumption has only increased.
BTC mining network total emissions | Source: Daniel Batten on Twitter
The chart shows that emissions increased in the first half of 2021, but emissions fell sharply after China’s mining ban. As a result of this ban, a large-scale migration of miners to other countries took place.
Since then, emissions have remained low even as the network continues to grow. It seems likely that wherever these miners set up their new facilities, they switched to sustainable energy sources.
Bitcoin mining emissions per dollar have also fallen in recent years, as shown in the chart below.
BTC issuance per market cap has been flat for quite some time | Source: Daniel Batten on Twitter
“This chart shows that unlike the current global financial system, where GDP growth is tied to rising emissions, Bitcoin’s market cap can grow but emissions cannot,” the analyst notes.
Finally, a key sign of the progress the mining network has made is that it is also becoming emissions efficient, meaning it is producing fewer emissions relative to its total energy use.
Bitcoin Network Mining Emission Intensity | Source: Daniel Batten on Twitter BTC price
At the time of writing, Bitcoin is trading around $22,300, down 5% over the past week.
BTC consolidates sideways | Source: BTCUSD on TradingView
Featured image by Brian Wangenheim at Unsplash.com, charts from TradingView.com, charts.woobull.com