... Bitcoin about 5,033 times more energy intensive, per transaction, than VISA
... Bitcoin’s power usage per transaction isn’t remotely sustainable as a wholesale replacement for the conventional financial system.
... According to my calculation, a single Bitcoin transaction uses roughly enough electricity to power 1.57 American households for a day.
All that energy expenditure has an important purpose: it secures Bitcoin from attacks by speculators, criminals, and other evil-doers by raising the price of the computer power needed to gain control of all transactions on the network. The computers that make up the Bitcoin economy’s backbone are constantly ensuring security and verifiability for the network by solving cryptographic puzzles. This process is called “mining.”

Bitcoin Is Unsustainable

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... Bitcoin about 5,033 times more energy intensive, per transaction, than VISA
... Bitcoin’s power usage per transaction isn’t remotely sustainable as a wholesale replacement for the conventional financial system.
... According to my calculation, a single Bitcoin transaction uses roughly enough electricity to power 1.57 American households for a day.

This sounds ... off.  Are you sure that isn't 1.57 American households worth of electricity to mine a bitcoin?  That sounds more like reality.  The cost for just a transaction can't be anywhere near that high, or the system would have collapsed right out of the gate.  The thing is, it doesn't matter if the up-front cost is that high, because once you have the coin, you have the coin.  It isn't like physical currency, which wears out over time.

Sure, bitcoin values probably aren't sustainable in the long run, I don't think, but not for this reason.

This is the part where he explains.

Computer cooling firm Allied Control estimates the total power consumption of the Bitcoin network at 250 to 500 Megawatts. Looking at the total hashrate, which is the number of calculations the network can perform per second, and applying a generous miner efficiency of 0.6 watts per gigahash, we can estimate our own back-of-the-envelope Bitcoin network constant power draw at just under 215 MW, although this figure is always in flux (it’s important to note that many of the variables in my calculation are constantly changing slightly). That’s around enough zap to power 173,000 average American households’ daily electricity usage.

With about 110,000 transactions per day, that works out to 1.57 households daily usage of electricity per Bitcoin transaction.

“The actual figure is likely worse, given that a large number of transactions are exchanges and miners moving bitcoins around and other low-value ‘dust’ transactions,” said Matthew Green, a cryptography expert at Johns Hopkins University. “So each transaction where there’s an exchange of goods or services happening is really representing even more electricity.”

I'm no geek, but it sounds like a lot of power use to me.

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