The skyrocketing price and retail speed of Bitcoin is prompting pundits to question the energy efficiency of the largest blockchain again – with calls for friendly hackers to join hands in launching an attack on the network.

The “developer and environmentalist”, better known as Frank Leroy, created Twitter and Medium accounts this month to speak out about disrupting the Bitcoin network through “ethical hacking”.

In a post titled “Green Hackers Around the World, Let’s Destroy Bitcoin”, Leroy stated that Bitcoin is “an illogical and destructive financial bubble” that destroys the climate through excessive electricity consumption.

A third of the article urges hackers to “destroy Bitcoin,” saying the network could be disrupted by organizing something like a DDOS attack with fake transactions blocking the network and contacting three other sources of other attack ideas, adding:

“It’s not even necessary for a computer attack to actually happen, but the speculators fear it. If a group of hackers (real or fake) declare an attack imminent, the bitcoin price is likely to drop.”
But these are not only minor posts on Medium criticizing Bitcoin’s energy consumption, the mainstream media has taken on that story as well. A recent article from Bloomberg titled “Bitcoin is an incredibly dirty business” notes that most of Bitcoin’s energy comes from coal and other non-renewable sources, and compares the network’s carbon footprint to that of New Zealand.

“Bitcoin mining will allow the same amount of energy to be consumed in 2021 as all transportation systems in the world combined in 2018,” wrote Jason Zweig, columnist for the Wall Street Journal.

If you look beyond the numbers Zweig uses, you can paint a different picture. In his tweet, he mentioned a graph of bitcoin energy consumption at Cambridge University. The three lines indicate the upper bound (gray), the lower limit (light yellow), and the actual estimated consumption (yellow).

Zweig used the upper limit, which is currently 290 TWh, and says that figure is close to reaching global transportation system consumption in 2018 (390 TWh). However, if we take an actual estimate of 120 TWh, the Bitcoin network would save about 30% of the energy used in the transportation industry in 2018.

Many critics cite the Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index, or BECI, on the Digiconomist website. BECI says that Bitcoin’s annual carbon footprint, electricity consumption and e-waste are comparable to New Zealand, Chile and Luxembourg respectively.

However, Bitcoin supporters like Marty Bent point out that most of the energy used to power the Bitcoin network is redundant and unused. He wrote in today’s post:

The relentlessly competitive bitcoin mining industry is forcing miners to search for the lowest cost power generation they can find, leading them to power sources stranded or completely lost. ”
Other speakers note that the energy used in mining is often renewable. As many as half of mining operations are done in the Sichuan region of China, and miners use hydropower plants in this region whenever possible. However, these plants depend on monsoon rains, and when not enough to give them energy, Sichuan turns to coal.

Research by Kraken Dan Held Growth Director Kraken Dan Held indicates that mining in the Sichuan region is renewable over 90%, making the entire Bitcoin network approximately 78% renewable.

But the numbers vary, and Cambridge University suggests the actual number is much lower. Although the university states that 76% of cryptocurrency miners use electricity from renewables, it has been found that only 39% of total energy consumption for cryptocurrencies with proof of work comes from renewables.

Source: CoinTelegraph

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