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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.

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: Coins Extend Weekly Losses as Altcoins Still Glued to Support Levels

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We are having another broadly negative session so far in the cryptocurrency segment, with most of the majors sporting limited losses, and with only a few coins showing relative strength. While the picture is far from being disastrous, we have seen some technical deterioration in the top coins, as Ripple is still bleeding lower, and as Ethereum fell below the $200 price level again.

DASH/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

The likes of Litecoin, Dash, EOS, IOTA, NEO, and ETC are still weak from a technical perspective, and although some of the minor coins are still faring somewhat better, at least short-term, the overall picture remains overwhelmingly bearish.

Bitcoin’s stability is still a plus for bulls here, but with no sign of meaningful bullish momentum among the top digital currencies, traders should remain defensive even with regards to the relatively stronger coins.


BTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

The most valuable coin is trading slightly lower amid the segment-wide drift lower, but the $6275 support is still well below the current level, and the volatility in BTC’s market continues to be very low. A move below would warn of a test of the $6000 and $5850 levels, and for now, the short-term sell signal is still in place in our trend model despite Bitcoin’s stability.

The next major support zone below $5850 is found between $5000 and $5100, while resistance is ahead at $6500, $6750, and $7000.

Ripple’s Weakness Casts a Shadow on the Market

XRP/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Ripple hasn’t been able to hold last week’s gains, and the coin moved below $0.46 this week, warning of a coming test of the $0.42 level, and a possible resumption of its broader downtrend after its surge in September.

Below $0.42 support levels are found near $0.375 and $0.355, and further weakness could soon lead to a downgrade in our trend model with regards to the long-term outlook, with strong resistance levels still ahead near $0.51, $0.54, and $0.57.

LTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Litecoin has been one of the stronger coins so far today, but from a broader perspective, it remains relatively weak and the $51 support level looks more and more vulnerable. A break below primary support would likely lead to a test of the bear market low near $47, with the next major support zone below that found at $44.

The broad declining trend is clearly intact, in the coin and traders and investors shouldn’t enter new positions here, with our trend model being negative on all time-frames, and with strong resistance levels ahead near $56, $59, and $64.

ETH/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Ethereum continues to show relative weakness, and although remained stable in recent days, the broader setup hints on a likely test of the bear-market low. The coin drifted below the $200 level today, but volatility remains low, and trading activity is still very light.

The currency remains on sell signals on all time-frames, even as the immediate outlook is rather neutral, with key support found near $180, $170, and $160, and with strong resistance zones ahead near $235 and $260.

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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4.6 stars on average, based on 381 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 Price Eyes Further Consolidation as Bakkt Sets Date for BTC Futures Contracts

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Bitcoin’s price has shown little movement over the last 24 hours, as low-volume, low-volatility trading supported a gradual consolidation for the world’s leading cryptocurrency. Meanwhile, the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) has set a new date for the launch of Bakkt, a proprietary cryptocurrency trading platform.

BTC/USD Update

The bticoin price hovered within a narrow range on Tuesday, picking up where it left off at the start of the week. At press time, BTC was valued at $6,462.49, having declined 0.4% compared with Monday. The leading digital currency is trading at an $80 premium on Bitfinex.

Trade volumes have picked up slightly over the past 24 hours but remain well below $4 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. The $4 billion threshold is generally viewed as the minimum exchange-traded volume bitcoin needs to generate any kind of meaningful rally.

Bitcoin’s underlying volatility is once again approaching yearly lows. Over the past 30 days, the bitcoin volatility index has averaged 1.65%, according to bitvol.info. This figure conveys daily fluctuations in bitcoin’s open price.

According to CBOE Options Institute instructor Kevin Davitt, bitcoin has exhibited less price volatility than some of Wall Street’s biggest technology stocks. In a recent conversation with MarketWatch, Davitt explained how bitcoin’s 20-day historical volatility (HV) was lower than that of Amazon (AMZN), Netflix (NFLX) and Nvidia (NVDA). In fact, bitcoin’s 20-day HV has fallen nearly as low as Apple’s (AAPL).

ICE Sets Date for Bakkt

The owner of the New York Stock Exchange has set a date of Dec. 12 for the launch of its upcoming cryptocurrency trading platform. Bakkt will initially offer physically settled bitcoin futures contracts by mid-December, a move that could bring more institutional traders into the fold.

According to a notice issued on Monday, Bakkt’s new product is called the Bitcoin (USD) Daily Futures Contract. The contract size is one bitcoin, with prices quoted in U.S. dollars to two decimal places. A minimum price movement of $2.50 per bitcoin has been set. Block trades executed at a minimum of $0.01 per bitcoin are also permitted.

Investors who purchase a bitcoin futures contract will have physical units of the coin deposited into their account on settlement. Existing bitcoin futures markets offered by CBOE and CME are cash-settled as opposed to physically settled.

ICE’s first foray into cryptocurrency was announced back in August after it announced an ambitious plan to bring blockchain solutions to mainstream investors and consumers. The platform, which is backed by Microsoft, Boston Consulting Group and Starbucks, is “designed to serve as a scalable on-ramp for institutional merchant and consumer participation in digital assets, by promoting greater efficiency, security and utility,” according to CEO Jelly Loeffler.

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.

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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4.6 stars on average, based on 649 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he leads content development for one of the world's foremost cryptocurrency resources. Over the past eight years Sam has authored more than 10,000 articles and over 40 whitepapers in the fields of labor market economics, emerging technologies, cryptocurrency and traditional finance. Sam's work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Contact: sam@hacked.com Twitter: @hsbourgi




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Analysis

Crypto Update: Coins Turn Lower After Choppy Weekend

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The major cryptocurrencies are slightly lower today in early trading, as Sunday’s modest rally faded away without major technical progress. Most of the coins are stuck in narrow trading ranges, and last week’s spike well above the current price levels, as buyers failed to take control of the market.

That said, we haven’t seen strong negative momentum either, and although the bearish long-term setups remain intact, there is no immediate danger of new bear market lows in the segment.

Patience is still the name of the game for crypto investors, since there is no evidence of a broader trend change that would justify a more constructive investment position. Our trend model is on sell signals across the board on both time frames, and the bearish pressures are still apparent on the charts, even considering the lengthy consolidation period. Given the negative long-term trends, odds still favor a test of the lows in most case, particularly in the light of the lack of bullish leadership.

IOTA/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

While most of the majors are still above the lows hit just before the Tether-turmoil, there are several relatively weak coins that could lead the market lower in the coming weeks. Especially Ethereum, Liteocin, Dash, and EOS point a negative picture of the market, while Ripple and Bitcoin are still the most encouraging form a bullish standpoint, even as they also failed to signs of bullish momentum.


BTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Bitcoin is back near the $6400 level today, after drifting towards the $6500 resistance during yesterday’s rally,  but the coin is still well clear of the $6275 support level, trading clearly within last Monday’s range. Our trend model continues to be on a short-term sell signal, while the long-term picture is still neutral for the largest digital currency.

Traders and investors still shouldn’t enter positions here with further resistance levels ahead near $6750 and $7000 and with support levels below $6275 found near $6000, $5850 and between $5000 and $5100.

Altcoins Slightly Lower as Stellar Fails to Break Out

XRP/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Ripple and Stellar have been showing some positive signs last week, but they both failed to make significant technical progress, confirming the segment-wide selling pressure. Ripple is threatening to move below the $0.42-$0.46 level, despite the rally above its triangle consolidation pattern, and a break below $0.42 would likely trigger a test of the $0.355 support.

For now, the short-term sell signal remains in place due to the lack of follow-through, and traders should be cautious with new positions. Strong resistance is still ahead at $0.51, $0.54, $0.57, while further, weak support is found near $0.375.

Stellar/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Stellar is trading very close to the key long-term support zone near $0.24 that has been dominating trading for several weeks, and despite the rally attempts, the coin is still not out of its bear market. That said, should a broader trend change occur, Stellar would likely be among the leaders of renewed advance, but for now, traders and investors should still stay away from the coin.

The declining long-term trend is intact, with strong resistance levels ahead near $0.265 and $0.2835, while support levels are found near $0.235, $0.21, and $0.1935.

ETH/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Ethereum is still stuck in a very narrow range after the weekend, with the $200 support/resistance level still being in the center of attention. The bearish broader setup is unchanged in ETH’s market, with the coin still being relatively weak among the majors.

Traders and investors shouldn’t open new positions her, with further support found near $180, $170, and $160, and with strong resistance zones ahead near $235 and $260.

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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4.6 stars on average, based on 381 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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