Energy Analytics

For Crypes’ Sake — Cryptocurrency, Elon and Greta


Like real currency, cryptocurrencies are a medium of exchange which can be used to purchase goods and services virtually. Elon Musk, for instance, announced early this year that Tesla would be accepting cryptocurrencies in exchange for Tesla products, making it the first major automaker to do so. Cryptocurrencies are attractive for several reasons: there are little to no transaction fees, anyone is free to use cryptocurrency without getting approved by a bank and international transactions can be carried out quickly, ideal in a globalized world. Black markets love them too. Our focus is on bitcoin as it is the largest and most established cryptocurrency in circulation.

Supporters of bitcoin emphasize that it is completely deregulated and independent from central banking systems, which may raise an eyebrow or two, especially with Jerome Powell and Janet Yellen. Those who are bullish on bitcoin also tend to be bearish the U.S. dollar. For example, Figure 1 shows the explosive rise in bitcoin against the surge in U.S. money supply since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ultimately, the number of bitcoins that in circulation is capped at 21 million and about 18.5 million are in circulation today, or nearly 90% of the total. Bitcoin is software. It is stored and transacted using distributed and decentralized blockchain technology; technology that chains together blocks of information (i.e., massive databases). Bitcoin miners are rewarded with coins by running computationally-intensive algorithms to complete blocks of transactions.

Figure 2 shows estimated electricity demand associated with the creation and maintenance of bitcoin bounded by high and low scenarios depending on the efficiency of technologies used. The best estimate for bitcoin’s annual electricity demand amounts to about 150 TWh, which is about 0.1% of total annual global electricity generation. This is a negligible draw on a global basis. However, environmentalists have raised concerns about the resulting emissions associated with cryptocurrencies. Had all this bitcoin electricity usage been generated with coal as feedstock, total CO2 emissions would amount to about 135 million tonnes, or about 0.4% of the global total. This is roughly equivalent to the annual emissions of 30 million standard cars. With this, it is no surprise Elon Musk reversed course and recently suspended taking bitcoin payments for its vehicles. Perhaps, Elon and Greta Thunberg can now get along.

FIGURE 1 | U.S. Money Supply and Bitcoin Value

FIGURE 2 | Bitcoin’s Estimated Electrical Demand



Energy’s most trusted SaaS platform — creating intelligent connections that uncover insights and opportunities to deliver extraordinary outcomes.

Subscribe to the Enverus Blog

A weekly update on the latest “no-fluff” insight and analysis of the energy industry.

Related Content

Energy Transition
ByAlex Nevokshonoff

Each hub developed a unique hydrogen production strategy that was chosen to best utilize the regionally available resources such as renewable energy type and quality, nuclear availability, existing infrastructure and carbon sequestration basin viability.

OFS-banner-485926689 (1)
ByErin Faulkner

Nearly a decade ago, Enverus, then known as DrillingInfo, posted a Gulf of Mexico (GOM) primer on its blog. It remains one of our most popular posts. A few things have changed since 2014, so we decided it was time...

Electric Vehicle Charging
Energy Transition
ByPrashant Kumar

The electric vehicle (EV) and plug-in hybrid EV markets are experiencing significant growth in North America, Europe and China. The surge in demand has prompted notable advancements in battery technology to cater to the expanding market.

Energy Analytics Financial Services
ByTucker Keren

The North American play-level inventory rankings are in, and there’s been some shakeups. After almost a year since the last publication by Enverus Intelligence Research (EIR), the remaining inventory by play has seen some movement on the leaderboards. While EIR...

Enverus Blog - What you should know about the future of mineral acquisitions
ByPhillip Dunning

Take the guess work out of providing your family insights into the estate and be empowered to manage your assets.

Intelligence Midstream
ByErin Faulkner

Midstream operators connected 3,524 oil and gas wells to gathering systems in the U.S. during Q2, according to an analysis using Enverus Core data presented in the most recent issue of Midstream Pulse. This is up slightly from the 3,447...

Energy Transition Financial Services

The shift away from hydrocarbons and towards renewable and low-carbon technologies is not only changing the way we power our lives, but also offers a wealth of investment opportunities for those who can decipher the complex landscape. Traditional institutional investors...

Enverus Blog - Analyst Takes: Looking back at March energy trends
Analyst Takes Trading and Risk
ByChris Griggs

As we commence October, it’s crucial to examine the ever-evolving energy landscape from the past month. Our Enverus Intelligence® | Research (EIR) team has diligently dissected key trends and breakthroughs, delivering insightful and data-driven perspectives that empower you to make...

Power and Renewables

2022 marked a significant milestone for renewable wind generation in North America. New wind capacity reached 14.7GW (gigawatts) from 93 projects, an increase from 2021 of 12GW from 54 projects. Looking to 2024, winds of opportunity show 55GW from a...

Let’s get started!

We’ll follow up right away to show you a quick product tour.

Let’s get started!

We’ll follow up right away to show you a quick product tour.

Sign up for our Blog

Register Today

Get Energy Transition Research updates straight to your inbox by filling out the form below.

Sign Up

Power Your Insights

Connect with an Expert

Access Product Tour

Speak to an Expert