Bitcoin could be the money of the future — unless it continues to operate in the same way that it currently does.
A new study authored by economist and data consultant Alex de Vries has painted a horrifying picture of a few months from now with the cryptocurrency growing as rapidly as it does at the moment.
As per the research, keeping the Bitcoin business up and running by the end of this year would mean using 7.67 gigawatts of power, which is one two-hundredth of all the electricity used on the planet.
In its current form, the Bitcoin network consumes 2.55 gigawatts of electricity, which is almost as much power used in the entire country of Ireland, which is at 3.1 gigawatts.
This is expected to almost triple by the end of 2018, during which its electric consumption would grow enough to power Austria, which is currently at 8.2 gigawatts.
"With the Bitcoin network processing just 200,000 transactions per day, this means that the average electricity consumed per transaction equals at least 300 kWh, and could exceed 900 kWh per transaction by the end of 2018," as noted in the research.
As Futurism further visualizes, Bitcoin mining might soon have the same effect on the environment as 38 million people who use the same amount of energy have.
To take it a step further, Eric Holthaus of Grist, who wrote about the Bitcoin's energy consumption in the past, predicted that if something is not done to curb this, the industry will take up the entire world's electricity in less than three years from now.
Futurism points out that while there are flaws in the new study, this does not change the fact that the industry still poses a serious threat to the planet.
Bitcoin miners, who truly believe that it is the path to the future, know what the whole process entails and they are doing something about it. Otherwise, it is just a ticking time bomb.
"The Bitcoin development community is experimenting with solutions such as the Lightning Network to improve the throughput of the network, which may alleviate the situation," the research noted.
Unfortunately, nothing on this front is concrete yet. The only thing that's certain is that more power will be needed as this industry evolves.
If anything, PC Gamer says that the ridiculous amount of power consumption it will require to continue the Bitcoin mining will be the industry's own undoing.
The site says that the 2021 projection by Holthaus, while very real, is unlikely to happen simply because the governments of the world are expected to intervene.
Not that they would need to, as Bitcoin would not afford growing its power consumption in the long run. The publication explains that by 2020, its estimated world energy production per year will be at 175,000 TWh.
At $0.10 per kWh, this would amount to $17.5 trillion per year. In that year, block reward of Bitcoin will drop to 6.25 BTC or around 328,500 BTC per year.
For the mining to break even, Bitcoin would have to be worth over $50 million per coin, something the publication doubts will be achieved.
Bitcoin is deemed "a big problem" that is "growing fast" in the research. Media outlets believe that if people do not find ways to mine it efficiently, Bitcoin's days will not only be numbered, it will prove deadly to the planet as it counts its days down.