Most people don’t have to deal with electricity figures in their daily life. As a result, they may find it difficult to put Bitcoin’s electricity consumption into proper perspective. The goal of this page is to make Bitcoin’s electricity usage more tangible and meaningful for a diverse audience by comparing it to other uses of electricity.

However, visitors should note that all comparisons face three major limits:

Note: All comparisons below are based on our best-guess estimate. The listed comparisons are for illustrative purposes only and do not constitute an endorsement nor any other form of value judgment. We aim to continually update this page with relevant and applicable comparisons. This is an ongoing iterative process. We are always open to feedback, comments, and suggestions for new comparisons or reliable data sources – please contact us here. 

Total World Production & Consumption

First, we consider Bitcoin’s share of the world’s total yearly electricity production and consumption. A reference to global energy production has been added as well to account for the wide array of industries that primarily rely on sources other than electricity (e.g. diesel fuel). In a similar fashion, some Bitcoin mining facilities are known to directly tap into energy assets at the production point rather than procuring electricity via the regular grid.

*Electricity is generated by transforming primary energy sources into electrical power. A significant share of the input energy is lost during this conversion process, with the exact proportion depending on fuel type and power plant efficiency. For simplicity, we assume an average conversion loss of 61% based on a 2020 study by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) on the 2019 US electricity flow.


Enerdata, Electricity production (2024), 2022 est.
Electricity consumption (2024), 2022 est.
Energy production (2024), 2022 est.
Energy consumption (2024), 2022 est.

Industrial & Residential

Next, we set up Bitcoin mining against other industrial and residential uses of electricity (or energy, depending on the nature of the activity). Bitcoin’s closest and most referenced real-world analogue is gold. While they arguably share utilitarian similarities as stores of value, gold and Bitcoin also demonstrate common consumptive traits, (e.g. the proportional relationship between unit price and increased production resulting in increased resource consumption).

Mudd, G., 
Global trends in gold mining: Towards quantifying environmental and resource sustainability (2007), 2019 est. based on own calculations

Note: energy intensity estimates of gold mining on a global scale are difficult to verify and can vary considerably. This figure is based on an older estimate from 2006 which may not be representative of the state of the gold mining industry today. It nevertheless provides a useful input for modelling a simple baseline scenario that assumes little infrastructural upgrades in gold mines over the last decade.

As the set of suitable comparisons with qualitatively similar activities is very limited, we now turn to other uses that have less – or indeed very little – in common with Bitcoin other than being energy-intensive in their own right. These comparisons should thus be considered from a quantitative rather than qualitative viewpoint. We distinguish between industrial (raw material production) and residential uses (appliance or equipment utilisation).

Country Ranking

Country comparisons are, for better or for worse, the most common type of comparison. They are frequently used in the public debate to support positions of concern about the scale of Bitcoin’s electricity consumption.

U.S. Energy Information Administration, Country Data, 2019 est. (or most recent available year)

However, as indicated by the chart below, country comparisons without additional context provide only limited insight given the huge disparities between nations. The size of a country, both in geographical and population terms, does not always correlate with energy usage. Instead, the energy profile of each country is a unique product of factors such as the energy demand of domestic industries and residents, the level of economic and social development, the stock of available energy sources, economic spending and production patterns, strategic policy actions to attract or outsource energy-intensive industries, and many more. As a result, it should not be surprising that the energy footprint of a single large city in a developed country can match the total level of an emerging economy.

Fun Facts

We would like to end this brief excursion on a more amusing note, with a wink to our parent institution and a dearly held British tradition.

Did you know that the amount of electricity consumed by the Bitcoin network in a single year…


University of Cambridge, Facts & Figures | Sustainability (2021), 2017/18 est.

Drysdale, B. et al, Flexible demand in the GB domestic electricity sector in 2030 (2015), 2012 est.