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Power Consumption for Bitcoin Mining Is Now Ranked 61st in the World

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Bitcoin Miners
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Bitcoin prices have been towering in the past couple of weeks. This is cause for celebration for users who have heavily invested in the cryptocurrency; but, it appears the value of bitcoin is not the only thing that has hit the roof in 2017. Bitcoin mining energy consumption has also reached new heights.

A research study conducted by PowerCompare—a U.K.-based company for energy comparison tariff—found that the average power used to mine bitcoins this year has already gone beyond the annual energy consumption for some 159 countries. In particular, the global average power spent on bitcoin mining has far outstripped the energy consumption in Ireland and a couple of African countries.

This new study was based on data from Digiconomist, whose current estimation of power used to mine bitcoin hovers around 30.14 TWh annually. This figure is way above Ireland power consumption that currently stands at 25 TWh yearly.  In fact, recent research from Dutch Bank ING found out that one bitcoin transaction consumes sufficient electricity to power an average household for a whole month.

At this rate, if bitcoin miners were a single country, it would be positioned 61st in the world based on power consumption, comparable to Slovakia and Morocco. PowerCompare has already predicted that if the trend continues, bitcoin mining will expend the entire world’s electricity by February of 2020!

Why bitcoin mining is increasing power consumption levels

What makes bitcoin mining an energy black hole?

Apparently, it is the computational requirements that process the complex cryptographic problems that miners must solve to be rewarded with the cryptocurrency. Just like other notable cryptos such as Ethereum and Litecoin, Bitcoin depends on miners to validate transactions performed in their respective blockchains.

To verify transactions, miners are required to solve complex mathematical problems, which on becomes increasingly difficult as more and more miners join the mining bandwagon. The more byzantine the cryptographic problems, the more the processing power that is needed to solve them.

In the case of bitcoin—the most popular cryptocurrency—a multitude of miners now make it absolutely necessary to use ASICs (Application-Specific Integrated Circuits) which consume considerable amounts of electricity. At present, ASICs have been designed to provide far more efficient computations, both in terms of the hash rate and power consumption when compared to CPU or GPU mining.

But the ASICs haven’t really resolved the hurdles of power consumption.

Ideally, the use of ASICs meant that the total time required to validate new blocks drastically reduces too. This hasn’t happened because of the way the bitcoin protocol was conceived. Apparently, the mining difficulty in bitcoin ensures that the total time taken for generation of new blocks must be kept constant.

As a matter of fact, the Bitcoin network automatically alters the difficulty level for bitcoin mining to ensure the discovery of new blocks every 10 minutes by miners based on two factors. First, there is the global block difficulty that forces valid blocks to have a hash value that is below the target to ensure the difficulty level is maintained.

Second, the number of miners that are actively participating in the mining process has been soaring, meaning the difficulty level has remained constant for a while now. Also, the mining difficulty automatically adjusts after every 2016 blocks on the Bitcoin network. Depending on how many users were actively mining – together with their combined hashpower—and the time it takes to find the 2016 blocks, the difficulty can either go up or down.

As the mining difficulty increases, miners should acquire more powerful hardware to accommodate for the adjustment which again increases the computational electricity. It is also worth noting that there is no maximum mining difficulty that has been set for the Bitcoin network. There is a possibility that the mining difficulty will continue to rise until all the Bitcoins are mined have been mined by the year 2140.

This means that power consumption in Bitcoin is not likely to decrease in the near future.

Challenges of mining Bitcoins

Here are some challenges of Bitcoin mining:

#1: Environmental hazards

The massive growth of cryptos has set up an exponential demand for processing power. The inordinate amounts of power required to mine bitcoins make it an environmental hazard since much of the earth’s electricity is still generated from greenhouse-gas-generating fossil fuels. This implies that bitcoin mining could be contributing to the climate changes and global warming.

#2: Stumbling block for mass adoption

The bitcoin cryptocurrency was conceived as a decentralized, peer-to-peer and trustless currency free from regulations of government agencies and financial institutions such as banks. Unfortunately, the adoption rate is discouraging. This can partly be attributed to the high energy consumption costs.

A recent study conducted by researchers from the HINUI (Hamilton Institute at the National University of Ireland) found that the cost of Bitcoin mining on the commodity hardware at present far exceeds the price of the rewards. In fact, Bitcoin mining has now been left to the big players who have the money to buy expensive ASICs with some of them leasing their hardware to small players in the so-called cloud mining.

#3: Rise of illegal piracy

In order to work around the hurdles of power-intensive requirements of bitcoin mining, some users have resorted to using dirty tricks to obtain the computational power from other people’s machines. A recent study published by Futurism found that Pirate Bay has covertly been testing a Javascript mining app on their website which allocates a huge volume of their visitors’ CPUs for purposes of mining the cryptocurrencies.

While the website in question was developed to help users in illicitly downloading files such as games, movies, and music, the JavaScript app hijacks the users’ CPUs to mine cryptocurrencies which is illegal.

Conclusion

The rise of bitcoin values is a cause for celebration in the crypto universe. It means that the entire global community is beginning to appreciate the value of cryptocurrencies in the world economy. However, mining energy consumption is soaring at an alarming rate. The quicker we find mechanisms to make bitcoin and other cryptocurrency mining electricity use “greener,” the better it would be for the Blockchain technology that is often heralded as the next internet.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 9 rated postsHira Saeed is a tech geek girl with a passion to write on latest technology trends. She is the Founder of Tech Geeks community in Pakistan and also runs her copywriting and social media agency, Digital Doers. Follow her on @heerasaeed.




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Analysis

Crypto Update: Litecoin Leads Pullback in Majors

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The major cryptocurrencies are all lower today following the test of the recent swing highs. Yesterday, the early leader of the current short-term uptrend, Litecoin hit the key $51 resistance, and today the coin pulled back sharply, triggering a broad correction in the segment. The leaders of the rally are all notably lower, but they are still holding on to the bulk of their recent gains, and the rising short-term trendlines are all intact.

From a short-term technical perspective, the current pullback is orderly, and as the coins clear the overbought momentum readings, traders could re-enter smaller, speculative positions with strict risk management rules. The long-term technical picture continues to warrant caution, and bear market rules still apply despite the consolidation of the recent months.

LTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Litecoin’s performance continues to be an important tell for the whole segment, and after yesterday’s downgrade in our trend model, the coin’s pullback is weighing on the whole market today. That said, volume patterns and price action in general, are still in line with a short-term uptrend, and traders could be looking for re-entry points and the overbought momentum readings get cleared.

The key $51 resistance level, which halted yesterday’s move, could be in focus again in the coming days, while a deeper correction could see the test of the $44 level. For now, our trend model remains on a neutral short-term signal, while the long-term signal is still clearly negative, with further support levels found near $44 and $38, and with strong resistance also ahead near the $56 level.

BTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Bitcoin remained within its short-term consolidation pattern, as the $3850 level provided support, so far, during the broad pullback in the segment. The MACD indicator is now pointing to an ongoing short-term correction, but the relatively weak short-term uptrend is still clearly intact.

Traders could hold on to their positions here despite the pullback, as the momentum indicators haven’t reached extreme overbought levels, leaving our trend model on a short-term buy signal, but we would with entering new positions until the pullback runs its course. While the long-term technical outlook is clearly negative for BTC here, a move above the key $4000-$4050 zone could lead to a test of the next major zone near $4450, while support below $3850 is still found near $3600 and just above $3450.

Ethereum and EOS Remain Stable as Ripple Fails to Show Strength

ETH/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Ethereum continues to trade in a bullish short-term correction pattern near the $145 resistance level. The uptrend is clearly intact in the coin, and although the short-term momentum indicators continue to show overbought readings the rally could soon continue, with the $160 price level still being in sight. Support levels are still found near $130 and $112, while the next major resistance zone is found near $180, and the long-term downtrend is still in no danger here.

EOS/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

EOS, which has also been among the leaders of the rally, continue to show stability amid today’s pullback, but as it got severely overbought during the recent upswing, our tend model is on a neutral signal. Traders should wait for the correction to run its course before re-entering their positions, since the long-term setup in EOS still warrants caution. Support is found near the current price level at $3.80, at $350 and near $3, while resistance is now ahead near $4 and $4.50.

XRP/USDT, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Ripple remains the primary concern for bulls here, as the relatively weak coin failed to show signs of stability falling back to the vicinity of the $0.32 level. The coin got stuck below the dominant bearish short-term trendline, and our trend model is now on a short-term sell signal, despite the broad rally in the segment.

With the long-term technicals still being hostile even in the case of a new swing low in the coming week, traders should remain cautious with XRP and focus on the stronger currencies with regards to trading positions. Below $0.32, further support zones are found near $0.30, $0.28, and $0.26, while short-term targets are still ahead near $0.3550, and $$0.3750.

Featured image from Shutterstock

Disclaimer:  The analyst owns cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but doesn’t engage in short-term or day-trading, nor does he hold short positions on any of the coins.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.7 stars on average, based on 469 rated postsTrader and financial analyst, with 10 years of experience in the field. An expert in technical analysis and risk management, but also an avid practitioner of value investment and passive strategies, with a passion towards anything that is connected to the market.




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Bitcoin

Bitcoin Runs into Minor Resistance After Setting Fresh Six-Month High

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Bitcoin’s price declined slightly on Thursday, mere hours after setting a new six-week high. Despite the modest retreat, the leading digital currency is charting a bullish path based on price action and the momentum indicators.

BTC/USD Update

The bitcoin price peaked at $4,145.00 on Bitfinex, the highest since early January when it reached $4,175. At the time of writing, the BTC/USD exchange rate was valued at $4,000, having declined 1.4% on the day.

As the following chart shows, the 20-period moving average crossed the 50-day period moving average earlier this week. This bullish crossover is usually a positive sign for buyers. The MACD has weakened in the last 24 hours but remains in positive territory.

At current levels, bitcoin is still on track to test the December high above $4,200. A clean break above this level would instill greater confidence in the bulls, possibly setting up a challenge of the long-term downtrend.

The path higher is paved with obstacles. Above $4,200, bitcoin would need to rally above $5,000 and eventually $5,500 to negate the long-term downtrend. Read more: Has Bitcoin Bottomed? A Closer Look at the Bullish and Bearish Cases.

Trade volumes have moderated in the last 48 hours but remain well above average. Virtual exchanges handled $8.6 billion worth of BTC trades on Thursday, according to CoinMarketCap. BitMEX was the single largest market, accounting for nearly 15% of the total volume. Spot exchanges accounted for the remaining balance.

Bitcoin’s Growing Appeal

Despite a devastating bear market, interest in bitcoin appears to be on the rise among millennials and younger generations. According to a survey of 1,000 online traders from eToro, 43% of millennials have more trust in cryptocurrency exchanges than the U.S. stock market. Members of Gen X are far more inclined to trust stock exchanges at a rate of 77%.

Crypto exchanges have been the target of relentless attack from cyber criminals looking to take advantage the nascent market. Billions of dollars have already been compromised. In 2017 alone, 11 major hacks resulted in the theft of $472.4 million. Last year, Japanese exchange Coincheck was taken for $530 million after hackers targeted 260,000 NEM holders.

The shift in attitude among millennials and other younger cohorts reflects a growing distrust of banks, which are the traditional power brokers of society. Earlier this week, a French court fined Swiss bank UBS $5.1 billion for aggravated money laundering and illegal bank soliciting. French media called it a record fine.

Many in the crypto community invest in alternative assets as a way to combat the traditional gears of finance. Anthony Pompliano of Morgan Creek Digital has popularized the phrase, “Long bitcoin, short the bankers” as a way of highlighting this paradigm shift.

Disclaimer: The author owns Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. Chart via TradingView. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.7 stars on average, based on 773 rated postsChief Editor to Hacked.com and Contributor to CCN.com, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi




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Crypto Update: Coins Test Swing Highs Litecoin Runs Into Resistance

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The major cryptocurrencies continue to trade with a bullish bias after establishing a new short-term uptrend this week. The top coins are all holding on to the bulk of their recent gains, even as most of them entered consolidation patterns on the heels of the strong rally in the segment. With still only Ripple lagging the broader market notably, the immediate outlook remains positive, despite the still bearish long-term picture.

LTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Today, the initially leading Litecoin shined again, pushing past the $50 level and hitting the long-term resistance zone near $51. As LTC is overbought due to its recent lofty gains, the coin is now only on a neutral short-term signal in our trend model, since the bearish long-term setup continues to warrant caution for bulls here.

That said, the rising short-term trend is intact, and should the coin clear the overbought momentum readings, traders could enter small, speculative positions using strict risk management rules. Support levels are now found near $47, $44, and $38, while the next major resistance zone is ahead near the $56 price level.

BTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Bitcoin entered a consolidation pattern today, as we expected, after touching the longer-term zone resistance zone between $4000 and $4050. The momentum indicators hint on further consolidation, and in light of hostile long-term setup, traders should wait for the overbought readings to be cleared before entering new short-term positions.

Below the initial level $3850 support, further levels are found near $3600 and just above $3450, while the next resistance zone above $4050 is ahead near $4450. The short-term uptrend is intact in BTC, and our trend model remains on a short-term buy signal.

Ethereum Tries to Form Swing Low while Ripple Fights Trendline

ETH/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Ethereum entered a shallow correction after hitting the resistance zone near $145, but the price action and the volume patterns continue to support the bullish short-term case. The $160 price level remains a viable target for bulls but the momentum indicators continue to show overbought readings. The short-term uptrend is intact and our trend model is still on a short-term buy signal as well. Support levels are found near $130 and $112 while above $160 resistance is ahead near $180.

EOS/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Only a few of the major altcoins managed to follow Litecoin to a new swing high today, but EOS slightly extended its rally, despite being severely overbought from a short-term perspective. While the new high is a positive sign for the coming period, EOS remains only neutral in our trend model, and traders should wait for the oversold readings to be cleared before entering new positions.

XRP/USDT, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

While the leadership of the rally is still healthy, Ripple continues to lag the leaders, still fighting with the declining trendline that stopped the recent rally attempt in the coin. XRP is holding up above the $0.32 level, but it’s stuck below the recent swing high, and traders should still focus on the relatively stronger coins despite the short-term buy signal in our trend model.

From a long-term perspective, technicals remain negative, and a move towards the $0.28 and $0.26 levels remains likely. Further support zones are found near $0.32 and $0.30, while short-term targets are still ahead near $0.3550, and $$0.3750.

Featured image from Shutterstock

Disclaimer:  The analyst owns cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but doesn’t engage in short-term or day-trading, nor does he hold short positions on any of the coins.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.7 stars on average, based on 469 rated postsTrader and financial analyst, with 10 years of experience in the field. An expert in technical analysis and risk management, but also an avid practitioner of value investment and passive strategies, with a passion towards anything that is connected to the market.




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