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商业 - 科技

比特币用电量超过特斯拉汽车30倍

JEN WIECZNER 2018年01月15日

比特币挖矿的用电量,远远超过了全球所有电动汽车的用电量。

随着比特币价格的大幅飙升,生产比特币的能源消耗也在迅速增长 — 目前,比特币挖矿的用电量,远远超过了全球所有电动汽车的用电量。

摩根士丹利(Morgan Stanley)的最新报告预测,2018年,比特币的电力需求预计将增长三倍,一年的用电量相当于阿根廷全国一年的电力需求。

该银行的分析师预测,比特币挖矿今年的耗电量可能超过125太瓦时,而全球电动汽车将到2025年才能达到这个水平。摩根士丹利在上周三发表的一项研究报告中估算,比特币去年的耗电量为36太瓦时,相当于卡塔尔全国的年度耗电量。

相比之下,《财富》分析师发现,所有已经上路的特斯拉(Tesla)汽车(据特斯拉的统计数据显示,至2017年底共有约280,000辆)在去年的耗电量可能不足1.3太瓦时。分析中根据报告至美国环境保护署(U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)的数据,按照特斯拉Model 3和Model S汽车的中位里程计算率,假设每辆汽车的行驶里程为15,000英里,接近美国的全国平均水平,每100英里的用电量为30千瓦时。

这意味着,去年生产比特币的耗电量,是今天所有上路行驶的特斯拉汽车用电量的29倍。

有一位名为Frank99的网友在特斯拉的在线讨论论坛上发布了类似的计算结果,他写道:“这太疯狂了。”

2016年,全球所有电动汽车的耗电量约为6太瓦时。

比特币挖矿的耗电量如此之高,原因是生产每一枚新比特币都需要借助大功率计算机执行加密过程,解决复杂的数学难题。挖矿计算用于在数字总分类账区块链中核实比特币交易,确保安全;但它们的缺点就是能源消耗量非常大。(人们认为其他多数加密货币挖矿的耗电量远少于比特币。)

摩根士丹利估算,生产一枚比特币的成本为3,000至7,000美元,包含能源和硬件成本。上周四下午,一枚比特币的价格约为13,500美元,从上个月接近20,000美元的最高点大幅下滑。

摩根士丹利的分析师在研究报告中称:“尽管如此,按照当下的比特币价格,比特币挖矿的收益依旧非常可观,如果加密货币持续升值,我们预计全球挖矿耗电量还会增长。”

但分析师们尚未找到比特币价格与电力成本之间的相互关系,这意味着加密货币投资者购买比特币时,并没有将其实际生产成本作为考虑因素。这也意味着虽然加密货币价格异常波动,甚至对挖矿公司的资讯非常敏感,但比特币价格不太可能受到能源价格波动的影响。

摩根士丹利的分析师称:“我们认为,近期内,加密货币价值不会受到电力成本驱动。2017年,加密货币的价格似乎并不是完全基于基本面。”

不过,银行家们为电力公司们提供了一条建议,利用加密货币来推高自己的股价。分析师们总结道:“或许全球的公用事业公司应该开始接受比特币支付。”(财富中文网)

译者:刘进龙/汪皓

As Bitcoin’s price has soared, so too has the energy consumption to produce it—to the point that Bitcoin mining now guzzles more electricity than all the electric cars in the world.

In 2018, Bitcoin’s power demand is set to more than triple, consuming as much energy in a year as the entire nation of Argentina, according to a new report by Morgan Stanley(MS, +0.50%).

The bank’s analysts forecast that Bitcoin mining could use up more than 125 terawatt hours of electricity this year, a level electric vehicles globally won’t reach until 2025. Last year, Bitcoin consumed 36 terawatt hours of energy—as much as the country of Qatar, Morgan Stanley estimated in a research note published last Wednesday.

By comparison, all the Tesla (TSLA, +0.96%) cars on the road (about 280,000 at the end of 2017, according to company statistics) likely used less than 1.3 terawatt hours of electricity combined for the year, a Fortune analysis found. The analysis assumed each car drove 15,000 miles—roughly the national average—at a rate of 30 kilowatt hours of electricity per 100 miles, based on the median mileage rate for Tesla Model 3 and Model S vehicles, according to figures reported to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

That means it cost 29 times as much energy to produce Bitcoins last year as it did to power all the Tesla cars driving today.

“That’s freaking insane,” wrote one person, going by the username Frank99, who posted a similar calculation on Tesla’s online discussion forum.

Global energy consumption for all electric cars was about 6 terawatt hours in 2016.

The reason Bitcoin mining consumes so much electricity is that producing each new Bitcoin requires solving a complex mathematical puzzle, through a cryptographic process performed by high-powered computers. The mining computations serve to verify Bitcoin transactions on a digital ledger known as the blockchain, ensuring security; they also have the downside of being extremely energy intensive. (Most other cryptocurrencies are believed to require much less energy to mine.)

Morgan Stanley estimates that it costs $3,000 to $7,000 to produce one Bitcoin, including both energy and hardware expenses. The price of a single Bitcoin was about $13,500 last Thursday afternoon, down from a high of nearly $20,000 last month.

“That said, mining is very profitable at today’s bitcoin price, and if cryptocurrencies continue to appreciate we expect global mining power consumption to increase,” the Morgan Stanley analysts wrote in their research note.

Still, the analysts did not find any correlation between the Bitcoin price and electricity costs—suggesting that cryptocurrency investors who buy Bitcoin are not factoring in how much it actually takes to produce it. This also means that while cryptocurrency prices are unusually volatile and sensitive to even minor news events, Bitcoin’s price is unlikely to be vulnerable to energy price fluctuations.

“We do not see cryptocurrency values being driven by electricity costs in the near term,” the Morgan Stanley analysts continued. “2017 shows that cryptocurrency pricing appears not to be fully based on fundamentals.”

The bankers, however, did offer an idea for how energy companies could use cryptocurrency to juice their own stock prices: “Perhaps global utilities should start accepting Bitcoins for payments,” the analysts concluded.

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