Mining Bitcoins uses more electricity than entire countries.

As the value of Bitcoin reached a new high this week, we also learned that mining the cryptocurrency soaks up more energy than 159 individual countries, according to one controversial estimate.

Over at Digiconomist, a Bitcoin blog and analysis site, owner Alex DeVries reported this week that the Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index, an measure of the energy used to mine the digital currency every year, reached 30.59 terawatt-hours.

 BitcoinEnergyConsumption.com

That’s on par with the energy use of the entire country of Morocco, more than 19 European countries, and roughly 0.7 percent of total energy demand in the United States, equal to 2.8 million US households.

 Power Compare
A map of countries that use less electricity than Bitcoin mining

While it doesn’t involve hard hats, drilling, and explosives, mining Bitcoin is a hugely energy-intensive process, even though the currency only exists digitally.

 Digiconomist

That’s because producing the digital currency requires intense computational processing power, which requires a huge amount of electricity.

Mining Bitcoins is like finding solutions to complicated math problems that become progressively more difficult. Coins are awarded to computers that verify transactions with an algorithm that gets more complex over time. In the early days of the currency in 2009 — with few computers, few transactions, and a price of $2 per coin — this was something you could do on your home computer.

Now with a global market cap of more than $167 billion, it requires specialized hardware called Application Specific Integrated Circuit miners, and mining operations now use tens of thousands of these devices in expansive warehouses Read More Here