Cryptocurrency mining consumes more electricity than a country with a population of 17 million as reported by TechPowerUp.

For those not in the know, cryptocurrency mining is a process that generates digital currency based on cryptography such as Bitcoin. A primer by Coindesk explains the basics of the process. Essentially, cryptocurrency is based on a limited number of mathematically-calculated strings within the overall cryptocurrency network. The mining process seeks to unlock undiscovered strings, and successful completion of one of these sections rewards the user with a number of coins in that specific currency. The process is mathematically intensive and requires some pretty strong computer hardware to get it done. Most recently, a shift within the cryptography has made it most favorable to make use of certain graphics cards – a shift that has caused prices of certain models to skyrocket.

Countless high-end graphics cards being run for long periods of time at full blast will understandably consume a lot of electricity – and the actual amount of power used is positively staggering. The two largest cryptocurrency networks, Bitcoin and Etherum, use 14.54 terawatt-hours per year and 4.69 terawatt-hours per year, respectively. To put these numbers into context, in 2015 the average power usage of a residential home in the United States is 10,812 kilowatt-hours per year. That is to say, cryptocurrency mining for the two largest networks uses enough electricity to power nearly 1.8 million American residential homes for a year. Going a bit more global, the two networks use more power than the entire nation of Syria which has an estimated population of 17 million people.

What do you think of cryptocurrency mining? Do you think that it’s a worthwhile endeavor to undertake once you factor in the costs for generating electricity and wearing down computer hardware? How far have you gone down the cryptocurrency rabbit hole? Let us know in the comments below!


Robert N. Adams

Senior Writer

I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I haven't stopped gaming since. CCGs, Tabletop Games, Pen & Paper RPGs - I've tried a whole bunch of stuff over the years and I'm always looking to try more!