Bitcoin mining consumes energy to power the process of adding new groups of verified transactions to the blockchain roughly every ten minutes. Application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) are machines typically used for Bitcoin mining. They’re designed to complete one specific task – called hashing – as fast as possible.
Powering a mining farm requires a variable amount of energy depending on its size. Miners can operate at any scale from “mini” mining farms of just a few ASICs to industrial operations with tens of thousands of ASICs housed in large warehouse-like facilities.
How the energy consumed by mining benefits the network is often misunderstood. ASICs consume energy to add newly verified transactions to the network’s official record and to secure the authenticity of every prior transaction dating back to the network’s origin in 2009.
The network does not consume energy by executing or verifying transactions. Rather, mining expends energy to add those new transactions to the network after verification.
- Sending a bitcoin transaction directly consumes a negligible amount of energy.
- Non-mining “full” nodes verify bitcoin transactions, which also consumes a negligible amount of energy.
Only after a transaction is sent by a bitcoin owner and verified by non-mining nodes will miners add it to the network’s record with a batch of other pending transactions.