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Cryptocurrencies’ hashrate and electricity consumption: evidence from mining activities

Reference Type: 

Journal Article

Schinckus, Christophe, Canh Phuc Nguyen, and Felicia Hui Ling Chong. 2022. “Cryptocurrencies’ Hashrate and Electricity Consumption: Evidence from Mining Activities.” Studies in Economics and Finance 39 (3): 524–46.

Purpose Given the growing importance of cryptocurrencies and the technique called “SegWit” that allows to compile more transactions in a mined block, the electricity consumed per block might potentially decrease. The purpose of this study is to consider that the difficulty to mine a block might be a better indicator of the Bitcoin\Ether’s electricity consumption. Design/methodology/approach This study applies the vector error correction model to investigate data related to primary energy consumption and electricity production, supply and consumption for Bitcoin and Ether hashrates from 2016M1 to 2021M5. Findings The hashrate (difficulty of solving the cryptographic problem related to the validation of a transaction) is found to have a positive cointegration with energy and electricity consumption. Despite the launch of the Segregation Witness (SegWit) mechanism allowing blocks to handle a higher number of transactions per block, this Bitcoin and Ether growing need in electricity has significantly been increasing since October 2019. Originality/value The major contribution of this study is to investigate a more relevant indicator, namely, hashrate (computational difficulty to solve cryptographic enigma associated with cryptocurrencies-related transaction). The approach of this study can be justified by the fact that there exists a technical solution consisting in increasing the number of transactions per blocks so that less electricity might be required to validate a transaction.

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