Bitcoin mining could end up using more global power than electric cars

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The global power needed to create cryptocurrencies this year could rival the entire electricity consumption of Argentina and be a growth driver for renewable energy producers from the U.S. to China, Bloomberg reports.

Miners of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies could require up to 140 terawatt-hours of electricity in 2018, about 0.6 percent of the global total, Morgan Stanley analysts led by Nicholas Ashworth wrote in a note Wednesday. That’s more than expected power demand from electric vehicles in 2025. “If cryptocurrencies continue to appreciate we expect global mining power consumption to increase,” Ashworth wrote in the note.

Not all analysts, however, expect this sort of power surge from digital currency creation. When bitcoin skyrocketed in 2017, the electricity demand for mining it climbed to about 20.5 terawatt-hours a year, according to a report published Wednesday by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. That figure would have to jump sixfold this year to reach Morgan Stanley’s estimate.