Bitcoin processing uses more power than Teslas do, for now

Tesla Model S purchased with Bitcoins from Lamborghini Newport Beach

Tesla Model S purchased with Bitcoins from Lamborghini Newport Beach

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One criticism that doubters level at electric cars is that the electric grid may not have enough power to run them, at least in some places.

While those concerns haven’t materialized on any large scale, perhaps those critics should be more worried about Bitcoins.

READ THIS: No, electric cars (still) aren’t crashing the grid. Again.

A new report by a Dutch blockchain expert estimates that Bitcoin mining—processing complex, secured mathematical transactions by computer—uses as much electricity as Ireland, according to a Bloomberg report.

The report corroborates a Morgan Stanley report released at the end of last year, which notes that Bitcoin transactions use more electricity than all the Teslas (and other electric cars) on the road.

Bitcoin

Bitcoin

According to the original report, Bitcoin miners are expected to use 140 terawatt-hours of electricity in 2018, or about 1 percent of total world electricity consumption. That’s a sum that electric cars are not expected to reach until 2025. The new report ups that to 1.8 percent of worldwide electricity consumption this year.

Bloomberg notes that those estimates may taper off with the price of Bitcoins.

The Morgan Stanley report [PDF summary] notes other concerns surrounding cryptocurrencies, including money laundering, transparency, volatility, fraud, manipulation, and hacking.

Other reports from rival banks also threw cold water on the Morgan Stanley report, noting that similar predictions of skyrocketing power use followed the rise of data centers and marijuana farms. As those businesses grew, their operators learned to be more efficient with electricity and growth in electricity usage came under control.

By comparison, analysts at Credit Suisse expect electric cars to consume 7 percent of global electricity by 2040. That amount, they say, will dwarf anything from Bitcoin.

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