Bitcoin Sustainability Report September 2017

Digiconomist is committed to promoting (the development of) sustainable blockchain technology. Blockchain protocols such as Bitcoin currently run on the energy-slurping proof-of-work algorithm (creating these proofs of work is better known as “mining”). The Bitcoin Energy Consumption index is a key tool that was created to provide insight into this energy consumption amount, and raise awareness on the unsustainability of the proof-of-work algorithm. The sustainability report uses historical data from the Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index to summarize the sustainability progress and performance of the Bitcoin protocol over the past month.

September Highlights

September was the month of China banning local Bitcoin exchanges. Rumours this was about to happen surfaced at the start of this month, and were soon confirmed to be true. Chinese exchanges subsequently started closing their local activities halfway through the month. This event significantly impacted the number of transactions handled by Bitcoin, reducing the average fee per transaction. The reduction in miner income was, however, offset due to an increase in both blocks mined and price of Bitcoin. The highlights of the past month are as follows:

  • Mining revenues increased by almost eight percent.
  • Mining revenue from transaction fees decreased by more than 30%.
  • The average fee per single transaction was $3.08.
  • The total network power consumption increased by almost 6%.
  • The average energy consumption per transaction was up by almost 10%, and amounts to 191 KWh per unique transaction (enough to power 1 U.S. household for more than 6 days).
  • The number of blocks mined increased by 10%. This is due to miners exploiting the difficulty algorithm of Bitcoin Cash during the previous month, which normalized in the current month.

The full report is featured below:

Description Value Monthly change Trend
Mining Revenue
Total Blocks Mined 4,868 10.70%
Average Bitcoin Price $4,121 6.65%
Average Price Volatility 65.37% -17.26%
Mining Revenue from Fees $22,833,392 -32.15%
Mining Revenue from Blocks Mined $258,939,444 13.49%
Total Mining Revenue $281,772,835 7.62%
Mining Costs
Total Costs of Mining $70,923,812 5.55%
Percentage of Total Revenue 25.17% -1.92%
Total KWh Consumed 1,418,476,247 5.55%
Network Power Consumption (GW) 1.97 9.07%
Network Statistics
Total Transactions Processed 7,422,786 -3.92%
Average KWh Consumed per TX 191 9.77%
Average Fee per Transaction $3.08 -29.36%
Energy cost per TX (at 5 cents per KWh) $9.55 9.77%
Average Network Hashrate (GH/s) 7,808,916,523 23.80%
Average Network Effciency (J/GH) 0.25 -11.91%
Bounds
Economic Maximum KWh Consumed 5,635,456,704 7.62%
Technical Minimum KWh Consumed 562,218,092 19.82%
Maximum Power Consumption (GW) 7.83 11.22%
Minimum Power Consumption (GW) 0.78 23.81%

Year to Date Performance

Apart from the changes in monthly performance, numbers on the current year to date (YTD) performance are found in the following table. These numbers show that Bitcoin has so far consumed as much energy as Panama or Luxembourg consume over a full year, with three more months to go until the end of the year.

It should be noted that the Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index wasn’t officially launched until February 10, 2017. For this reason, the year to date performance is measured as of this date.

Description Value Sep vs. YTD
Mining Revenue
Total Blocks Mined 35,259 13.81%
Average Bitcoin Price $2,367 174.10%
Average Price Volatility 61.70% 105.95%
Mining Revenue from Fees $147,555,074 15.47%
Mining Revenue from Blocks Mined $1,060,460,404 24.42%
Total Mining Revenue $1,208,015,478 23.33%
Mining Costs
Total Costs of Mining $425,824,154 16.66%
Percentage of Total Revenue 35.25% 71.41%
Total KWh Consumed 8,516,483,084 16.66%
Network Power Consumption (GW) 1.53 128.80%
Network Statistics
Total Transactions Processed 63,054,362 11.77%
Average KWh Consumed per TX 135 141.48%
Average Fee per Transaction $2.34 131.62%
Energy cost per TX (at 5 cents per KWh) $6.75 141.48%
Average Network Hashrate (GH/s) 5,075,037,537 153.87%
Average Network Effciency (J/GH) 0.3 83.71%
Bounds
Economic Maximum KWh Consumed 24,160,309,559 23.33%
Technical Minimum KWh Consumed 2,825,641,368 19.90%

For a daily estimate of Bitcoin’s energy consumption make sure to visit the Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index.

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