The amount of electricity used by major cryptocurrency networks halved as digital tenders collapse in value.

As the dollar-based valuation of currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum falls dramatically, profit margins for cryptominers have shrunk dramatically - or been erased entirely, pushing some into bankruptcy.

Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies
– Thinkstock / Andrey Suslov

Digital currency economist Alex de Vries believes that the energy used by the largest cryptocurrency networks has decreased by up to 50 percent. Bitcoin, in particular, has fallen by a third since its June 11 peak.

Bitcoin now consumes an estimated annualized 131 terawatt-hours a year, roughly the same as the entire nation of Argentina. A single Bitcoin transaction uses as much electricity as a typical US household would use over 50 days. At its peak, de Vries believes that Bitcoin consumed more power than all other data centers combined.

Ethereum fell from a peak of 94TWh a year to 46TWh a year, matching the usage of Qatar.

Mining for major currencies stayed constant even as prices crashed as users had already bought the equipment. But as the price for Bitcoin falls below $25,200, the cost of the electricity to mine the currency becomes more expensive than the value mined in some places, forcing them to shut down.

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