Bitcoin operations use as much energy as roughly one to three nuclear reactors, and is a significant drain on the world's electricity resources, The Washington Post reported.
Bitcoin, a digital currency created in 2009, debuted on the world's largest futures exchange CME on Sunday at $20,650. The virtual currency uses so much energy because a network of users expend large amounts of computing power and build a so-called "blockchain" of bitcoin payments transactions.
A blockchain is a digitized, decentralized, public ledger of all cryptocurrency transactions.
Bitcoin relies on miners, who use special software to solve math problems and are issued a certain fractions of bitcoins in exchange of mining. As bitcoin grows more popular, "the demand for high-powered computer processing grows," according to the Post.
"If the price of bitcoin continues to rise, it will continue to use more energy," Mike Reed, director of the Blockchain Program Office for Intel Corp, told the Post.
The price, he said, represents "an economic incentive to add more mining equipment to the network . . . and that incentive is built in."
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