The estimates, based on economics, estimate the minimum current usage of the Bitcoin network at 2.55 gigawatts, meaning that it uses almost as much electricity as Ireland.
By the end of this year, the network could be using as much as 7.7 gigawatts, as much as Austria and 0.5% of the world’s total consumption, according to economist and blockchain specialist Alex de Vries, reported by publication Live Mint.
“To me, half a per cent is already quite shocking. It’s an extreme difference compared to the regular financial system, and this increasing electricity demand is definitely not going to help us reach our climate goals,” the economist said.
If the price of Bitcoin continues to increase the way some experts have predicted, De Vries believes the network could someday consume 5% of the world’s electricity, according to the publication.