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Bitcoin mining energy consumption

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BTC-Energy

Bitcoin mining has been under a microscope lately. We talked to a crypto expert to understand why blockchain is getting a bad rap.

If you’ve even casually followed Bitcoin news lately, you may have seen headlines such as these:

“Bill Gates Sounds Alarm On Bitcoin’s Energy Consumption”

“Bitcoin’s wild ride renews worries about its massive carbon footprint“

“Why does Bitcoin need more energy than whole countries?”

These captions are meant to drive clicks and perhaps even plant a seed of doubt in the public’s mind about trending cryptocurrencies. But is crypto trading the energy vampire that the media has made it out to be?

We spoke with podcast producer and blockchain expert Matthew Diemer, a longtime player in the crypto industry, to get a more balanced view of this issue. Diemer manages The Decrypt Daily podcast, which discusses all aspects of crypto news and information.

Popular digital currencies

Before we dive into the conversation, let’s start with a quick rewind on some basic cryptocurrency facts. Currently, there are dozens of virtual currencies, also known as tokens, available to purchase and trade. However, the most well-known currency by far is Bitcoin, having been around now for over a decade.

Other rising stars in the crypto space include Ethereum, dogecoin, and Litecoin. And recently, a wave of interest in NFTs is fueling public demand (however, NFTs, or “non-fungible tokens,” are a type of virtual product that exists primarily within the Ethereum blockchain.)

To understand how energy use and blockchain (i.e., the technology that allows cryptocurrencies to exist) are intertwined, one has to dig a little deeper into the processes of creating and trading cryptocurrencies.

Proof of Work makes crypto function

Blockchain technology involves a method of tracking every single transaction called Proof of Work (PoW). Essentially, PoW is a publicly documented record, also called a ledger, organized by a group called miners. Miners, predictably, are the ones that mine to create new tokens by recording every transaction for the blockchain.

As Diemer explains, miners take each “transaction in the data and put it into the decentralized database. Once it’s put in that decentralized database, that one person wins and gets the block reward because they are the first person to do that. Basically, that transaction is now locked within the blockchain. And we call it a blockchain because you can see the chain of transactions all the way back to the beginning, or the genesis, block of Bitcoin.”

Miners repeat these tasks continually as more crypto is bought and sold. So, because this process involves performing extremely complex algorithms repeatedly, mining uses energy, and lots of it. Now that the connection between energy use and blockchain is clear, let’s dive deeper into the energy and mining relationship at the crux of this controversy.

Energy use and Bitcoin mining

Though Diemer is the first to admit that Bitcoin mining “takes a lot of energy, around 170 Terawatts per block,” he also says we should be careful about how we frame up the idea of energy use when it comes to blockchain management.

Diemer states, “I don’t like the term energy usage because I think that’s disingenuous. We should be thinking about the word carbon emissions, or CO2 footprint.” But, Diemer said, we should “be concerned about the CO2 footprint of any kind of energy consumption.”

To his point, the laser focus on Bitcoin in relation to energy is leaving out a lot of factors. For example, Diemer says, Bitcoin obtains “74% of electricity from renewable sources,” a stat backed up by a 2019 CoinShares report.

Based on this data, the topic of crypto energy consumption requires a reframing of sorts. In other words, Diemer states, “do we care about how much energy is consumed, if it’s renewable? No, because it’s renewable.”

Bitcoin as a business

Diemer proposes that when it comes to energy management, crypto miners might be more concerned than most people because it affects their bottom line. “Bitcoin mining is a business proposition. You want to get the cheapest energy to do this business because it takes a lot of energy to mine Bitcoin. Therefore, anything that is not the cheapest possible is a negative against your business.”

“Bitcoin miners purposely set up next to renewable power sources and use their excess energy.” In other words, Diemer suggests mining is using energy that would otherwise be wasted. Indeed, recent reports show as much as 72% of the energy produced globally is lost.

Bitcoin mining unlikely to drive Texas energy prices

The bulk of Bitcoin mining is located overseas, with the vast majority (65%) of that taking place in China, according to Statista. Although China is heavily dependent on coal energy, savvy miners have found a way to harness unused power.

Diemer explained, miners “actively search out the cheapest, most efficient ways to conduct this business. I had somebody on the show that had a Bitcoin mining firm in Sichuan, and that’s exactly what they did. They flew to Sichuan and found one of the many dams that are there and nestled up next to it and started a partnership with them.”

Currently, less than 8% of mining is U.S.-based. However, that stat is likely to change as crypto continues to grow in popularity, causing miners stateside to look for the best places to expand their pursuits. And one location set to skyrocket in popularity is Texas.

Crypto mining in Texas

Texas is an attractive hub for would-be miners. The Lone Star State is already ripe for solar energy generation. Texas currently leads the U.S. in solar generation, lagging only behind California. Texas is also a leader in other types of renewable energy, such as wind power, which could be essential to low-cost and efficient mining operations.

But with Texas struggling through an energy crisis for the first part of 2021, how much more pressure can the southern power grid stand? Will prices skyrocket even more than during the February winter storm, And how much of that cost will be passed onto the consumer?

Like the situation in China, Texas miners can use energy that would otherwise go to waste. And it is precisely this type of symbiotic relationship that could be a boon for energy production in the south-central region of the U.S.

A mining facility already exists in west Texas was able to “sell its contracted power supplies back into the grid for a profit,” according to Bloomberg. So, “when power prices in Texas topped $200 a megawatt-hour, Layer1 reaped returns of more than 700%.”

The good news is that if other facilities follow suit, mining may help the Texas power grid retain more of its renewable energy. However, whether or not the excess energy will translate into savings for Texas electricity customers remains to be seen.

Why mining gets blamed for energy consumption

The question still remains that if miners are so strategic about optimizing energy, why has bitcoin mining been getting the brunt of the blame for energy consumption?

Traditional monetary transactions involving fiat (i.e., government-issued) currency involve significant energy output as well. Consider the number of debit and credit card swipes that take place every second, which totaled over 174 billion transactions globally in 2018, according to the Federal Reserve. With that figure in mind, is the blockchain industry liable for energy gluttony, or are they being scapegoated by the “old guard” in the finance space?

Diemer states, “I think that it’s an easy narrative, and I think that narrative always trumps research and due diligence. It’s easy to run with a narrative instead of actually digging down on the conversation and trying to understand what’s happening.”

But Diemer is confident that the same avant-garde thinkers that facilitated the early days of crypto may be the same innovative minds that come up with our next big energy solution. “The interesting thing about the free market is that sometimes they find solutions to problems…that aren’t thought of by the public or the government.”

Perhaps he sums it up best by saying, “The minds in this space are just brilliant individuals that are thinking literally like Sci-Fi novels. And not only thinking like Sci-Fi novels, but they’re also writing the Sci-Fi novel as we speak and then putting it into everyday action. And if that’s not inspiring to you, then I don’t know what is.”

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BTC, ETH, XRP, ZEN, UNI, OMG, AXS — Technical Analysis Sept 28

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BTC, ETH, XRP, ZEN, UNI, OMG, AXS — Technical Analysis Sept 28

Bitcoin (BTC) was rejected by the $44,000 horizontal resistance area.

Ethereum (ETH) is following a descending resistance line and potentially trading inside a descending wedge.

XRP (XRP) is following a descending support line.

Horizen (ZEN) has broken down from an ascending support line.

Uniswap (UNI) has broken out from a descending wedge.

OMG Network (OMG) is following an ascending support line.

Axie Infinity (AXS) has broken out from a descending resistance line.

BTC

On Sept 27, BTC was rejected by the $44,000 resistance area and created a long upper wick (red icon). This is a bearish sign since the area had previously been acting as support, and the rejection now validates it as resistance.

Technical indicators in the daily time frame are bearish. Both the RSI and MACD are decreasing. The former is negative while the latter has just fallen below 50.

The next closest support area is found at $38,000.

ETH

ETH has been decreasing underneath a descending resistance line since Sept 3. Most recently, it was rejected by the line on Sept 16.

Due to the long lower wicks, the support line cannot be accurately determined. However, it’s possible that ETH is trading inside a descending wedge.

Despite the wedge normally being considered a bullish pattern, technical indicators are neutral. The RSI is right at the 50-line and the MACD is below 0, although it is increasing.

Therefore, the direction of the trend cannot be accurately determined at the current time.

XRP

XRP has been following a descending support line since Aug 17. So far, it has been validated multiple times, most recently on Sept 21. The final touch of the support line (green icon) also coincided with the 0.618 Fib retracement support level at $0.85.

Despite the fact that XRP is trading above a confluence of support levels, technical indicators are not bullish. The RSI is at the 50-line and the MACD is negative, even though it is moving upwards.

The closest support and resistance levels are found at $0.76 and $1.07 respectively.

ZEN

ZEN has been decreasing since Sept 15, after creating a double top pattern and a long upper wick. The pattern was also combined with a bearish divergence in the RSI.

Shortly after, it broke down from an ascending support line. The breakdown is supported by the MACD and RSI, which are both decreasing.

The closest support area is found at $53.

UNI

UNI has been decreasing since Sept 2. After the Sept 7 drop, it created a descending wedge, which led to a low of $17.73 on Sept 26.

However, UNI rebounded and broke out from the wedge. The breakout is supported by the increasing MACD and RSI.

The closest resistance area is found at $26.15, created by the 0.618 Fib retracement resistance levels.

If UNI is successful in moving above it, it may move toward new highs.

OMG

OMG has been following an ascending support line since July 20. However, since Sept 6, it has failed to break out above the $10.60 area, which is the 0.618 Fib retracement resistance level.

Despite the rejection, technical indicators are bullish. The RSI has generated a hidden bullish divergence and the MACD is positive.

Therefore, an eventual breakout would be likely. This could take OMG toward the $15.33 all-time high price.

AXS

AXS has been increasing since Sept 21 when it bounced at the $48.28 support area. The next day, it created a bullish engulfing candlestick and broke out from a descending resistance line.

Following this, it reclaimed the $63 horizontal area and validated it as support.

Both the MACD and RSI are increasing, supporting the continuation of the upward movement.

The next resistance area is found at the all-time highs of $94.50.

For BeInCrypto’s latest Bitcoin (BTC) analysis, click here.

Disclaimer

All the information contained on our website is published in good faith and for general information purposes only. Any action the reader takes upon the information found on our website is strictly at their own risk.

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Bitcoin (BTC) Fails to Move Above $44,000 Resistance

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Bitcoin (BTC) Fails to Move Above $44,000 Resistance

Bitcoin (BTC) attempted to move upwards on Sept 27 but was rejected by the $44,000 resistance area.

While BTC is still trading inside the upper portion of a descending parallel channel, the price action is lacking bullish signals.

BTC gets rejected

On Sept 27, BTC made an attempt at moving above the $44,000 area but was promptly rejected (red icon). The area had acted as support in August and the beginning of September but turned to resistance after the breakdown on Sept 20. The rejection created an upper wick and a bearish candlestick. 

Besides trading below resistance, technical indicators for BTC have turned bearish as both the RSI and MACD are decreasing. The MACD has just crossed into negative territory while the RSI is below 50. 

If BTC were to continue moving downwards, the next closest support area would be found at $38,000.

Current channel

The six-hour chart shows a descending parallel channel, which usually contains corrective structures.

Currently, BTC is trading inside its upper portion. Furthermore, it’s trading just above the 0.5 Fib retracement support level.  

Despite being above a confluence of support levels, technical indicators are bearish/undecided. The MACD is negative and has lost its strength while the RSI has just fallen below 50.

The two-hour chart shows that BTC is following an ascending support line and has made three higher lows since Sept 21. While this can be seen as a bullish structure, the price action is not bullish. 

The previous resistance area at $43,000 that was expected to act as support did not. On the contrary, BTC fell right through it. Furthermore, both the MACD and RSI have turned bearish.

While there is very strong support at $41,500, created by the 0.786 Fib retracement support level and the ascending support line, the price action does not seem bullish.

Wave count

The most likely wave count still indicates that the decrease from Sept 7 to Sept 21 was part of an A-B-C corrective structure, in which waves A:C had an exact 1:1 ratio. This is also supported by the presence of the descending parallel channel.

However, the movement since the low does not seem impulsive, casting some doubt on the possibility of this being the correct count.

Alternative counts could see the movement as a flat A-B-C corrective structure (upper image), or in the more bearish case a 1/2-/1-2 wave structure (lower image). 

At the current time, the correct count cannot be determined.

For BeInCrypto’s previous Bitcoin (BTC) analysis, click here.

Disclaimer

All the information contained on our website is published in good faith and for general information purposes only. Any action the reader takes upon the information found on our website is strictly at their own risk.

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Europe becomes largest crypto economy with over $1T in transactions — Chainalysis

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Europe becomes largest crypto economy with over $1T in transactions — Chainalysis

DeFi has become a major catalyst for Europe’s crypto economy. Large institutions have also upped their share of transactions significantly.

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Europe becomes largest crypto economy with over T in transactions — Chainalysis

The region of central, northern and western Europe, or CNWE, has emerged as the world’s most active cryptocurrency block, receiving over $1 trillion worth of digital assets over the past year, according to new research from blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis. 

The report, which was released Tuesday, found that the CNWE region accounted for 25% of global crypto activity between July 2020 and June 2021. The region witnessed a sharp uptick in transaction volume across all crypto sub-categories, especially decentralized finance, or DeFi.

Chainalysis describes crypto transactions as anything involving trade, investments and business dealings.

Europe has also become a hotbed for institutional investing, with transactions values in this category growing to $46.3 billion in June 2021 compared with just $1.4 billion in July 2020. Perhaps surprisingly, the United Kingdom is the single largest crypto economy in the region at $170 billion worth of transactions. Nearly half, or 49%, of the value was sent via DeFi protocols.

“The U.K.’s growth is driven mostly by growing institutional investment, based on the large-sized transfers driving most of its transaction volume,” Chainalysis senior content marketing manager Henry Updegrave told Cointelegraph. 

A secular bull market for Bitcoin (BTC), the growth of competing smart contract platforms and the arrival of decentralized finance all contributed to crypto’s massive rally during the study period. It comes as no surprise that CNWE’s crypto market activity peaked in May 2021 during the height of the bull market, which was one month removed from Bitcoin hitting $64,000.

Chainalysis’ data corroborates a growing body of evidence showing that large institutional investors have become a driving force within crypto. Wealth managers, family offices and other institutional players have poured billions of dollars into Bitcoin and Ether (ETH) investment products offered by Grayscale, CoinShares, 21Shares and others.

Related: Crypto asset manager Cobo raises $40M to launch DeFi-as-a-service

Beyond the advanced economies of Europe, Chainalysis research has documented the growing uptake of crypto in emerging markets. The Chainalylsis 2021 Global Crypto Adoption Index named Vietnam, India and Pakistan as the leading countries for adoption based on on-chain value received, retail transactions and peer-to-peer exchange trade volume.

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