Cryptocurrency critics often bash Bitcoin’s power use, most frequently citing a University of Cambridge study that ranks its annual power drain in the top 30 electricity consumers worldwide.
But a new report championing Bitcoin’s green credentials calls those claims into question.
The four-year, peer-reviewed study from Paris-based consultancy firm Valuechain shows that the energy consumption of the Bitcoin network is 50 times more sustainable than the entire banking system, with proof-of-work transactions proving to be 1 to 5 times more energy efficient.
The study provides transparent, step-by-step calculations, and implies that past analyses of Bitcoin’s energy usage — including the aforementioned Cambridge research — were inaccurate, incomplete and unfairly biased against crypto.
Unlike past often-cited research, the study compares Bitcoin’s energy consumption with all the aspects of the classical monetary payment system including banknotes and coins, cash management in ATM systems, card payments, POS payments, banking and inter-banking energy consumption, and more.
Valuechain used physics, information science and economics to provide an accurate energy use assessment of the traditional banking system, determining that it has a jarring annual energy use profile of 4,981 TWh compared to Bitcoin’s 89 TWh.
“Bitcoin Lightning, and Bitcoin, in general, are really great and very efficient technological solutions that deserve to be adopted on a large scale,” Michel Khazzaka, author of the study, told Cointelegraph. “This invention is brilliant enough, efficient enough and powerful enough to get mass adoption.”
The combination of Bitcoin and the Lightning Network allows Bitcoin to become 194 million times more energy efficient than a classical payment system, the report concludes.
Khazzaka isn’t alone: The Bitcoin Mining Council recently pointed out that the high percentage of renewables in the Bitcoin energy mix — 58% — is considerably more than any other major industry.
Valuechain’s data shows that the use of blockchain is not only green, but actively trying to be sustainable. Hopefully, this research will help erase the flawed portrayal of proof-of-work programming as an energy guzzler, and bolster cyrptocurency’s pursuit of net-zero emissions.