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The Entire Blockchain Ecosystem in One Visualization

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The Blockchain Ecosystem: View the full-size infographic
The Blockchain Ecosystem

The Entire Blockchain Ecosystem in One Visualization

View the full-size version.

The size of the bitcoin market may still be microscopic when contrasted with other global markets, but that hasn’t stopped the eight-year-old cryptocurrency, as well as the surrounding blockchain ecosystem, from evolving.

As Bitcoin Magazine points out in its article accompanying this infographic:

As Bitcoin approaches its eighth birthday, we see things changing. It is turning into that curious, wide-eyed technology with ideas as widespread as any normal eight-year-old. Cross-border payments, machine-to-machine transactions, smart contracts, microtransactions and stock settlements all have been discussed and developed. Nothing is off limits; no question goes unasked.

The blockchain, which is the technological infrastructure behind how Bitcoin transactions work, is now much more heralded in many circles than the original cryptocurrency itself. That’s because it is now clear how the blockchain can be further applied to many other disciplines, including payments, trading assets digitally, identity management, data verification, and smart contracts.

Venture capital has continued to pour into the sector to untap this potential.

In 2015 alone, companies focused on Bitcoin or the blockchain raised over $1 billion. Meanwhile, 2016 has already seen notable investments in companies like Augur, a decentralized prediction market, or Ethereum, a smart contract and publishing platform. As of today, than 65 banks and financial institutions have made investments in the industry in a wide range of businesses and ideas.

We pointed out in last week’s chart that mentions of “Bitcoin” have decreased by 61% in Y Combinator applications, which does raise a potential concern for the development of future Bitcoin and blockchain technology. Less startups focusing on the applications of the blockchain could be a sign of a slowdown, but it could also be temporary. Any significant breakthrough, like the anticipated success of OpenBazaar, could tip the scales back in favor again.

Even despite this potential setback, Bitcoin has always done well in the face of adversity. It was the top performing currency of 2015, and recently the bitcoin price has soared to 21-month highs after a recent four-day rally of 21%.

Based on this, it would seem that the blockchain ecosystem, including Bitcoin, is still alive and well.

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Bitcoin

Top 10 Bitcoin Mining Countries & Their Renewable Electricity Mix

Bitcoin miners worldwide use about 348 TWh of electricity per year, as much as some countries, but just where does all that power come from?

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Teaser to an infographic showing the top 10 countries for Bitcoin mining, led by the U.S. Kazakhstan, and China, and their renewable electricity mix. Only China, Canada, Germany, and Ireland had renewable mixes above the global average of 30%.

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The following content is sponsored by HIVE Digital Technologies

Top 10 Bitcoin Mining Countries & Their Renewable Electricity Mix

Bitcoin miners use an estimated 348 terawatt hours of electricity per year, and with the world increasingly moving to renewables, some are asking the question: just where does Bitcoin get its electricity?

To answer that question, we partnered with HIVE Digital to visualize data from the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance and Ember, a climate-oriented energy think tank, to look at the Bitcoin network’s electricity mix. 

This is part one in our How Green is Bitcoin? series, which examines the cryptocurrency’s sustainability.  

The World According to Bitcoin

The top 10 countries for Bitcoin mining represent 93.8% of the entire network by hashrate—a measure of computational power—with the U.S., China, and Kazakhstan rounding out the top three. Together these three countries hosted nearly three-quarters of the network at the end of 2021. 

CountryHashrate (%)Renewable (%)
U.S.37.8%22.5%
China21.1%30.2%
Kazakhstan13.2%11.3%
Canada6.5%69.7%
Russia4.7%18.5%
Germany3.1%43.0%
Malaysia2.5%19.1%
Ireland2.0%38.6%
Singapore2.0%2.4%
Thailand1.0%15.5%
Rest of the World6.3%30.1%

Source: Hashrate (%): Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance as of December 2021; Renewable (%) Ember, as of 2022.

China used to be the top spot for Bitcoin mining, up to 75% of global capacity, but a crackdown in the summer of 2021 saw their share drop to nil in just a couple months. Many miners relocated to nearby Kazakhstan, attracted by cheap electricity, loose regulations, and a ‘stable’ political climate, while others opted for the United States. A sizable covert mining scene has also emerged in China, now that the dust has settled.

At the bottom of the top 10 are Ireland, Singapore, and Thailand, which together host 4.9% of the network. Ireland’s reported share—and this applies to sixth-place Germany, as well—is thought to be a significant overstatement caused by miners in other countries masking their true locations.

The Role of Renewables

On a national basis, the U.S., China, and Kazakhstan each had renewable shares of 22.5%, 30.2%, and 11.3% respectively. For context, renewables made up 30% of the world’s electricity generation in 2022 (not including nuclear). 

Kazakhstan’s dismal renewable share is due to their heavy reliance on coal (60%), which is also a major export of the central Asian country. At the same time, coal contributes a similar amount of the electricity in China (61%), but their overall renewable share is higher because of their breakneck expansion of wind and solar power.

Wagons Ho?

Just where a Bitcoin miner sets up their rig is important, because unlike many other industries with factories or big head offices, they are mobile (Google ‘Bitcoin mining shipping containers’ if you need convincing).

Where they choose to put out their shingle is based on things like the regulatory regime, price of electricity, and because Bitcoin rigs generate a lot of heat, the average outdoor temperature. On this last point, here is how the top 10 breaks down by mean annual temperature:

Increasingly, though, with climate change driving the push to renewables, many Bitcoin miners are looking more closely at where their electricity is coming from. This could be why Canada—with its embarrassment of hydroelectric riches—has crept up the ranking from less than one percent of the network in 2019, to six-and-a-half percent at the end of 2021. 

But considering that top renewable countries such as Iceland, Paraguay, and Norway together only hosted just over one percent of the global network, there’s still a lot more room left for growth.

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Learn more about how Bitcoin miner and data center operator HIVE Digital is using clean, renewable energy at its facilities in Canada, Sweden, and Iceland.

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