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

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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.

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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!

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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: Ethereum Tops $700 as Short-Term Sell Signals Pop Up

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The major cryptocurrencies are having another strong session, with all of the top 10 coins sporting gains, adding more than 5% on average since yesterday. The largest digital currencies are trading in clear short-term uptrends, with the broad declining trendlines also being broken in most cases.

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That said, the short-term momentum indicators are overbought with regards to altcoins, and now several majors triggered short-term sell signals following the first signal by IOTA yesterday. While this doesn’t mean that traders should exit all short-term positions here, taking some profits and/or setting tighter stop losses is advised, as there will likely be opportunities with much better risk/reward profiles to re-enter the market.

BTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

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Bitcoin finally topped the $9000-$9200 resistance zone after a period of relative weakness, further boosting the already positive overall picture. The momentum of the move is still not stellar, but the coin is still not severely overbought, and although a deeper pullback is still likely soon and short-term traders shouldn’t open new positions here, a test of the $10,000 level is still possible in the coming days. The long-term setup is clearly bullish, and investors could still add to their holdings during the short-term pullbacks, with further support found at $8400.

ETH/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Ethereum continued to rally, despite the already overbought reading, and now the coin is severely overbought, and a correction is very likely in the coming days, so short-term traders should exit their positions or use tight stop losses here. We expect the rally to continue after a correction, and long-term investors should hold on to their coins. Resistance zones are ahead near $735 and $780, while primary support is between $625 and $645.

Altcoins Overbought but Uptrend Intact

XMR/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

While correlations are getting lower and lower among the major coins, which is a bullish sign, most of them are already overbought from a short-term perspective. Although further gains are still possible, chasing those coins higher here is not a good strategy, even as the long-term setups remain encouraging.

Litecoin, ETC, and NEO are not severely overbought yet, while Ripple, Stellar, and Cardano are already in short-term corrections clearing the overbought readings, but traders should be cautious with Dash, EOS, Monero, and IOTA as they are ripe for a move lower.

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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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Analysis

Long-Term Cryptocurrency Analysis: Bitcoin and Ethereum Break-Out of Declining Trends

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The altcoin-led rally continued since our previous look at the long-term charts, and the major coins all confirmed a new short-term uptrend. Most of the largest digital currencies also broke out from their broad declining trends, as the total value of the segment is now more than 50% above the level around the correction low.

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BTC/USD, Daily Chart Analysis

The overall picture remained positive, with only Bitcoin’s weakness causing headaches for crypto bulls, as the most valuable coin is hovering close to declining trendline that dominated trading throughout the first quarter of the year.

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Despite the short-term weakness, BTC is still among the stronger majors from a long-term perspective, and with the secular uptrend clearly being intact, long-term investors should hold on to their coins and add to their holdings on the short-term pullbacks.

Crucial resistance is still just ahead between $9000-$9200, with further levels at $10,000 and $11,300, while support is found near $8400, $7650, and in the $6150-$6250 zone.

ETH/USD, Daily Chart Analysis

Ethereum built upon its recent relative strength, and the coin broke out convincingly above the declining trendline, and reached the next key resistance zone between $625 and $640 before the momentum of the move stalled.

While there are still several strong zones ahead, with the closest ones near $725 and $845, barring a quick move back below the declining trendline, the coin should continue the advance. With the long-term MACD still just in neutral territory, long-term investors could add to their holdings during short-term corrections, with key support levels at $500, $450, and $400.

(more…)

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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Analysis

Crypto Update: Coins Hit 6-Week Highs as Rally Continues

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Bullish price action is still dominant in the cryptocurrency segment today, despite the recent lofty gains, and the overbought short-term picture in the ace of most of the majors. Correlations continue to break down, as more and more coins are in confirmed uptrends, with the total value of the market hitting $400 billion for the first time since early March.

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The top digital currencies are mixed today in the generally positive environment, with Bitcoin Cash, IOTA, Ethereum Classic, Dash, and Monero showing relative strength, in the face of the slightly overbought short-term momentum readings. While this is not the best moment to enter new short-term trades with regards to the majority of the coins, the long-term setup favors further gains in the coming weeks.

BTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

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Altcoins have been leading the market higher in the last couple of weeks, and Bitcoin is still stuck below the $9000 level, as it continues to slightly lag behind from a short-term perspective. The coin ran into the strong resistance zone between $9000 and $9200 after breaking out of the broad declining trend.

Now a pullback is likely, given the slight weakness, with a possible test of the prior swing high at $8400. In case of a bullish move, the next target is at $10,000, and long-term investors should still add to their holdings on the short-term dips.

ETH/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Ethereum kept on creeping higher to marginal no rally highs in the last couple of days, nearing the $650 level despite the overbought short-term picture. Short-term traders should still not enter new positions here until the overbought readings are cleared, while long-term investors could still add to their holdings during the pullbacks.  Resistance zones are ahead near $735 and $780, while primary support is between $555 and $575.

Altcoins Diverging but Bulls Remain in Control

XRP/USDT, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

As we noted, the correlation between the coins is lower than during the downswing, and that confirms the bullish price action in the segment. Ripple is trading in a consolidation pattern near the $0.84 level, and although the overbought momentum readings are not yet fully cleared, the trend is clearly bullish and a new short-term buy signal is likely in the coming days.

Among the other recent leaders, IOTA triggered short-term sell signal, reaching the strong resistance zone near $2.2. EOS, Stellar, Cardano, and NEO are consolidating their gains, while Dash, Monero, and ETC are trading slightly above last week’s highs, but traders shouldn’t chase them higher here, as a short-term correction is likely soon.

Stay tuned for our detailed long-term technical analysis coming out later on today.

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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4.5 stars on average, based on 231 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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