I just spent an hour and a half grinding out some miles on Zwift and I had a thought. If I swapped my trainer for a generator, how long would I have to ride to provide the electricity needed to mine a single Bitcoin? I guess it’s time to do a little math.
As of today (February 1st, 2018), according to blockchain.info the hashrate for mining Bitcoin is: 21,221,546,612 GH/s
The most efficient technology currently available for mining Bitcoin, at least for us plebs, is the Antminer S9. The S9 is capable of 12,930 GH/s. Which means the collective Bitcoin hash rate is equivalent to 1,641,264 S9 miners running in parallel.
A single Antminer S9 uses 1375W, which means that in 1 hour it consumes 1.375 kWh.
Bitcoin blocks are solved at 6 per hour on average and the current mining reward is 12.5 BTC (that reward will half in about 852 days).
Lets put that together.
1,641,264 S9 miners x 1.375 kWh = 2,256,738 kWh
The average American home uses about 897 kWh per month so you could keep a small city running here, but I digress. 2,256,738 kWh is the amount of electricity that equates to all the Bitcoin mining in the world for one hour, this effort would net us 75 Bitcoin (6 blocks/hour x 12.5 Bitcoin/block). We’re only going for one Bitcoin, so we need to do some quick division:
2,256,738 kWh / 75 = 30,089 kWh
With consumer grade equipment — I’m sure major mining operations have more efficient hardware — we can mine one Bitcoin with 30,089 kWh of electricity. That’s about 2 years and 9 months of total electricity use for the average U.S. household. Now, how long would you have to ride?
Last year I rode at an average of 190 watts, so for every hour I rode I produced 0.19 kWh. At 30,089 kWh to produce one Bitcoin this is going to get depressing.
30,089 kWh to produce one Bitcoin / 0.19 kWh output on bike = 158,363 hours of riding
Last year I spent 132 hours on my bike. If I spent every year riding the same amount, it would only take 1,199 more years for me to bust out a Bitcoin. Yeeesh.
Let’s say I get in super duper, Lance Armstrong shooting dope, Chris Froome puffing inhalers, shape and starting riding like it’s my job. I’m putting out 350 watts average and riding an exaggerated 50 hours a week (no vacations). I’d be able to mine that Bitcoin in just 33 years.