The world’s top cryptocurrency, bitcoin, is set to consume some 95.68 TWh (terawatt-hours, or one trillion watts per hour) by the end of the year, according to the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index. That’s about the same as the power consumption of the Philippines. Annual energy consumption of Pakistan is a bit over 120 terawatt per hour. According to a Bloomberg report, the bitcoin network will have consumed 91 TW/h by the end of the year, and it has already consumed more than the 67 TW/h estimated for all of 2020. A separate study by Science Direct found that bitcoin miners “cycle through a growing amount of short-lived hardware that could exacerbate the growth in global electronic waste.” The Science Direct report also suggested that “bitcoin could produce up to 64.4 metric kilotons [64,400 tons] of e-waste at peak bitcoin price levels seen in early 2021.” E-waste generally refers to discarded computer equipment and electronics. Bitcoin accounts for about 0.11pc of the estimated global total for e-waste in 2021, which is 57.4 million metric tons, according to Statista. As a percentage of the total global electricity consumption, bitcoin mining accounts for just 0.43pc. That is less than the estimated 104 TW/h used by refrigerators in the US alone, according to Cambridge University. Electricity is a primary input of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The coins are mined by computers that process complex algorithms in halls that span the area of several football pitches. As the market for cryptocurrency grows, so does Bitcoin’s demand on energy grids. Bitcoin mining now uses 66 times more electricity than in 2015 and carbon emissions from the process may face increasing regulation. The enormous amounts of energy needed to mine bitcoin have been blamed for causing power cuts in Tehran as recently as January, and led to increasing competition in so-called green mining, which uses renewable energy sources to mine cryptos. The researchers at Cambridge, who have endeavoured to provide a real-time estimate of the total electricity load and consumption of the Bitcoin network, say the model is based on an estimate, given that the exact electricity consumption cannot be determined.