A new study from the New York Digital Investment Group (NYDIG) has projected that Bitcoin’s energy consumption will remain below 0.5% of the global total over the next decade.
NYDIG published its 'Bitcoin Net Zero' research paper this month, finding that Bitcoin’s energy consumption and carbon emissions will not skyrocket in the coming years, even if prices do.
The study, which was penned by Castle Island Ventures partner Nic Carter and NYDIG founder Ross Stevens, discusses how the network’s carbon emission may change in the future, depending on fluctuations in Bitcoin’s price, mining difficulty and energy consumption.
The study’s most aggressive outlook found that Bitcoin’s emission would still represent a tiny fraction of the global total even if the price of BTC went through the roof by the year 2030, concluding:
“Even in our most aggressive, high price, scenario, in which Bitcoin reaches $10 trillion by 2030, its emissions amount to only 0.9 percent of the world’s total, and its energy outlay is just 0.4 percent of the global total.”
The report projects the future growth of Bitcoin mining based on data from 2020. The researchers calculated the historical electricity consumption of Bitcoin miners as a function of the network hashrate and machine efficiency.
For the year 2020, the authors found that Bitcoin consumed 62 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity and produced 33 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions to represent just 0.04% of global energy consumption and 0.1% of global carbon emissions.
The authors asserted the carbon waste associated with Bitcoin mining was “insignificant in global terms” during 2020.
Currently, BTC mining uses 101 TWh per year or 0.45% of global electricity. According to Cambridge University, the Bitcoin network consumes more energy than the entire country of the Philippines.
However, the University also found that Bitcoin consumes less electricity than all the refrigerators in the United States combined, and only 4.6% of the total energy used for residential air-conditioning worldwide.
The report also concluded that the prospects for “decarbonizing” Bitcoin mining in the future show significant promise, stating:
“Over the longer term, the intensity of Bitcoin’s carbon emissions (and with it Bitcoin’s absolute carbon emissions) will decline, as the development of renewables continues and countries strive to decarbonize their electricity grids.”