Using a simple method based on ASIC specifications and miner profitability, how much energy does it take to mine one bitcoin? In this assessment we found that it takes an average of 143,000 kWh of energy to produce one bitcoin. Our method for discovering the amount of energy it takes to mine one bitcoin uses data from the relevant ASIC models, the size of the network and the current profitability of the miners. To get a better idea of how much energy is spent per bitcoin, we can make a representation of the hash rate based on the ASIC models and the market shares of the manufacturers. To do this, we assign a number of ASIC models in proportion to the estimated market share of each manufacturer.
In addition, it is difficult to know exactly how many of each ASIC model are currently in operation, or the exact market share of the manufacturers. The beauty of Bitcoin's design is that it has the ability to self-regulate to ensure that its block rate remains constant and miners' profits are competitive. But will the network grow forever as the price of BTC increases and the hashing capabilities of ASICs advance? No, network growth has limited capacity. Moreover, despite advances in microchips that reduce ASIC efficiency profiles and increase profit margins, the overall cost and energy required to mine one bitcoin will increase over time.
This is due to a combination of circumstances that can be called "limits to growth" in network size. Therefore, we believe that the Bitcoin network is entering the slowing growth phase shown in the logistical growth model above. In the future we believe that the size of the network may peak and then reach a relative equilibrium or slowed growth. Of course, we could be wrong.
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