We’ve had a look at the energy-intensity of Bitcoin before, and now we have the numbers for Ethereum, the hot new kid on the cryptocurrency block, and purportedly the underpinning of a complete disruption of how we do business. Turns out, Ethereum currently doesn’t fare much better, with roughly half the energy required per transaction compared to Bitcoin.
A new real-time index from Alex de Vries, founder of cryptocurrency analysis site Digiconomist, shows that each ethereum transaction could now represent as much as 45 Kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity spent mining. That's about as much juice as the average American household uses in a day and a half. For comparison's sake, De Vries has estimated that a Visa transaction requires 0.00651 kWh. The entire network could be using as much as 4.2 Terawatt-hours (tWh), or slightly more than the country of Cyprus.
Ethereum plans to shift to a Proof of Stake-model that would significantly curtail the energy consumption of its network, but so far we haven’t seen more than announcements to that effect.
Bear this in mind when you read news about the Blockchain impact, especially when it comes with funding announcements for P2P energy startups.