Cryptocurrency mining is something we’ve been talking about for the past month or so and it seems it is back in full force. Because of this it is very hard to find retail versions of most graphics cards from AMD and NVIDIA. Both NVIDIA and AMD are actually creating graphics cards specifically made for mining and even motherboard manufactures are coming out with motherboards made for mining.
Everyone it seems is trying to make money off cryptocurrency mining in some way or another. This has brought the global mining power consumption to unprecedented levels, the numbers are pretty insane actually! Right now the top two cryptocurrencies are Bitcoin and Ethereum, which are responsible for 14.54 TWh and 4.69 TWh power consumption figures respectively. Ethereum consumes almost as much power as Moldova (120th most power-consuming country), which has a population of around 3 million. Bitcoin however sits in-between Mozambique and Turkmenistan, the latter of which has a population estimated at 5.17 million people. When combined the power consumption of both cryptocurrencies is higher than Syria, which an estimated 2014 population above 17 million.
In an interesting comparison Ethereum mining consumes 8 times the power it takes to run the entire VISA network, and Bitcoin 27x as much. This goes to show how efficient centralized systems are. Obviously this is the cost of transparency and doing away with the trusted 3rd party.
I definitely think cryptocurrencies are here to stay as well as blockchain technology, but in their current form they are very inefficient.