It’s no secret that the Bitcoin (BTC) network consumes a lot of energy, which is why the network has attracted a lot of criticism. What is less known, however, is that it also requires enormous amounts of drinking water. According to Dutch researcher Alex de Vries, this is equivalent to one swimming pool of water per transaction.
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Bitcoin also uses a lot of water
Although the network requires electricity to even use the hardware, it also requires an enormous amount of water to cool all of the “parts” of Bitcoin. According to Alex de Vries from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, this is equivalent to one swimming pool per day. In a research report, he writes that the network is expected to use 2,237 gigalitres of water in 2023 – i.e 2.237 billion liters.
In 2021, the volume also grew significantly to 1,573 gigalitres, an increase of 166% compared to 2020. This is because the network grew significantly and miners faced increasing competition. It was no different in 2023, the hash rate recently rose to a record value, which probably explains why the amount of water required has increased again.
In addition, the water required is only fresh, which is already in short supply in many regions of the world. According to de Vries, this water is needed to cool the ASIC mining hardware. Many miners use it Evaporative coolingwhere cool water cools the warm hardware and partially evaporates.
Another source of this consumption has nothing to do with Bitcoin mining, but rather electricity generation. For example, miners now use electricity from hydroelectric power plants, but some of the energy from the reservoirs of these power plants also evaporates. In addition, coal-fired power plants and nuclear power plants, for example, require cooling water to produce electricity for miners.
Bitcoin mining remains controversial
There is no shortage of critics when it comes to Bitcoin mining. There is no way to know exactly how much the network uses, and according to some, the network has become much more environmentally friendly. The green side of Bitcoin seems to be slowly bringing about a paradigm shift.
The controversy is so big that major newspapers like the New York Times are investigating it, leading to even more controversy. Even the United Nations recently published a study on the phenomenon, but it also attracted criticism.
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