Cryptocurrency uses 56% more power than all of the Netherlands: Morgan Stanley

Bitcoin_ATM_-_Brno,_Czech_Republic
A Bitcoin ATM (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/DonPowered). A Bitcoin ATM (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/DonPowered)

A new analyst note produced by investment bank Morgan Stanley suggests that the world’s most used cryptocurrencies will consume significantly more energy globally than the entire amount of electricity produced in the Netherlands this year. As much as 140 terawatt-hours of electricity will be used in the cryptocurrency field next year, speculates analyst Nicholas Ashworth in a memo published on Wednesday.

That represents roughly 56 percent more energy than the Dutch are expected to generate in 2018. The Netherlands was projected to produce just shy of 90 terawatt-hours of electricity for its national and international energy grid, according to a report produced by the Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) with the cooperation of several Dutch government agencies. 

The country produced over 117 terawatt-hours of electricity in 2016. 

“If cryptocurrencies continue to appreciate we expect global mining power consumption to increase,” Ashworth wrote. Electricity is used for several reasons in cryptocurrencies, particularly in the computer-generated mining of coins, the transfer of coins from one virtual wallet to another, and the exchange of coins for products, services, or other currencies.

The good news is that cryptocurrency mining and use could spur nations to more quickly develop alternative and renewable energy power plants. Substantial investment in wind and solar power is already projected to help the Netherlands generate close to 140 terawatt-hours in 2035.

The electricity in the Netherlands is primarily produced by coal, nuclear, natural gas, biomass and other burned consumables, wind, solar, and geothermal methods.

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