Bitcoin Sustainability Report December 2018

With 2018 behind us, we can finally get a complete overview of the environmental disaster that unfolded in Bitcoin last year. But before we get to this part, we first examine the montly changes as usual. In December Bitcoin’s energy use continued to decline, although the bottom seems to have been reached mid-December. The last few days energy use has been shooting up again, recording the most significant gains since May. Even so, energy consumption still dropped by one third compared to November. The highlights of the past month are as follows:

  • Mining revenues dropped more than 34 percent.
  • Mining revenue from transaction fees decreased by 28 percent.
  • The average fee per single transaction was $0.33.
  • The total network power consumption decreased by almost 31 percent.
  • The average energy consumption per transaction was down by around 31 percent as well, and amounts to 472 KWh per unique transaction (enough to power 1 U.S. household for almost 16 days).

The full report is featured below:

Description Value Monthly change Trend
Mining Revenue
Average Bitcoin Price $3,719 -31.57%
Average Price Volatility 76.08% 114.31%
Mining Revenue from Fees $2,683,039 -38.13%
Mining Revenue from Blocks Mined $207,119,624 -34.90%
Total Mining Revenue $209,802,662 -34.94%
Mining Costs
Total Costs of Mining $192,338,312 -30.50%
Percentage of Total Revenue 91.68% 6.83%
Total KWh Consumed 3,855,236,933 -30.34%
Network Statistics
Total Transactions Processed 8,170,879 0.96%
Average KWh Consumed per TX 472 -30.99%
Average Fee per Transaction $0.33 -38.89%
Energy cost per TX (at 5 cents per KWh) $23.60 -30.99%
Average Network Hashrate (GH/s) 41,417,555,916 -18.21%
Average Network Effciency (J/GH) 0.13 -17.59%
Economic Maximum KWh Consumed 4,196,053,250 -34.94%
Technical Minimum KWh Consumed 3,555,835,577 -15.48%

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 consumed as much energy a country like Switzerland (62.1 TWh) in 2018. Moreover, when comparing to the previous year, we find dramatic increases in multiple value. Despite a significant decrease in mining income earned from fees (-46%), miners still earned significantly more (101%) than last year due to a higher average price of Bitcoin. Along with increase revenues, the average network hashrate increase by 449%. Unsurprisingly, Bitcoin’s energy use also increased dramatically by 301%. Because the Bitcoin network processed less transactions than the year before (-12%), the average energy use per transaction increased even more (354%).

Description 2018 2017 YoY Change
Mining Revenue
Average Bitcoin Price $7,559 $4,375 72.78%
Average Price Volatility 64.38% 66.78% -3.59%
Mining Revenue from Fees $291,320,194 $541,679,741 -46.22%
Mining Revenue from Blocks Mined $5,854,222,152 $2,911,553,352 101.07%
Total Mining Revenue $6,145,542,346 $3,453,233,093 77.96%
Mining Costs
Total Costs of Mining $3,117,068,023 $776,532,329 301.41%
Percentage of Total Revenue 50.72% 22.49% 125.55%
Total KWh Consumed 62,349,831,163 15,530,646,590 301.46%
Network Statistics
Total Transactions Processed 81,147,382 92,167,146 -11.96%
Average KWh Consumed per TX 768 169 354.44%
Average Fee per Transaction $3.59 $5.88 -38.95%
Energy cost per TX (at 5 cents per KWh) $38.40 $8.45 354.44%
Average Network Hashrate (GH/s) 39,983,103,533 7,288,177,479 448.60%
Average Network Effciency (J/GH) 0.18 0.24 -26.84%
Economic Maximum KWh Consumed 122,910,846,910 69,064,661,866 77.96%
Technical Minimum KWh Consumed 40,416,917,349 7,365,382,998 448.74%


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.

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

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One Response

  1. Lukas May 8, 2019

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