A new study has come out that offers a bit of insight into how much it costs to operate cryptocurrency mines around the world.
A list published by Elite Fixtures—which oddly enough sells lighting and home decor furnishings—lists the average price of electricity to mine a single bitcoin around the world. They used bitcoin as it is the most ubiquitous cryptocurrency and is worth the most when compared to traditional currencies.
On that list, Canada placed 26 out of the 115 countries listed. The list notes that it costs on average $3,965 (all figures USD) to mine one bitcoin, which as of writing is worth just over $10,000. This is based on Ontario energy costs–slightly higher than the Canadian average.
To conduct the study, Elite Fixtures used information provided by local governments and companies as well as organizations such as the International Energy Agency. For the amount of energy actually consumed in the mining of one bitcoin, they used the average of three different mining rigs: the AntMiner S7, the Avalon 6, and the AntMiner S9.
Breaking down the list a bit further, there are 91 countries where mining a bitcoin costs less than $10,000, so mining in those locations can feasibly bring a profit. That does not necessarily include transfer or exchange fees.
The cheapest country to mine by a long shot is Venezuela, where the cost to mine one bitcoin is $531. The South American country is a perfect storm for miners: it is rich in oil and gas, and the government-subsidized electricity is nearly free. Still, it faces massive inflation and an unstable government that has threatened miners in the past, so setting up shop in the country could be as volatile of a decision as the bitcoin itself. Miners in the country could end like these two brothers who had more than 90 rigs set up and had to pay a $1,000 bribe to police to keep each one running.
Second on the list and coming in at more than double the price of Venezuela is Trinidad and Tobago at $1,190. Like Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago have a healthy electricity subsidy due to their widespread adoption of natural gas and renewable energy sources.
For prospective miners, make sure to avoid South Korea. The average cost mine one bitcoin is $26,170—more than 2.5 times the price of one bitcoin right now. This is due to a sliding scale of electricity consumption in the country–the more used, the more it costs.
As a final note, the electricity cost to mine one bitcoin in China is $3,172. This is important as China is the top bitcoin mining location in the world right now by a long shot, as companies like Bitfury and Antpool call the country home.
This study is interesting to look at electricity costs around the world, but it should not necessarily be seen as cryptocurrency gospel. Many of the countries listed have varying costs of electricity that are not taken into account. For example, in Canada, most of the bitcoin mining is happening in Alberta and Quebec, and not Ontario as the report lists. If those provinces were looked at specifically, it’s likely they possibly would place in the top 10.
The same goes for the U.S. and China, each of which has varying costs across states and provinces respectively. Many countries are seen as more enticing for mining due to political climates as well. Companies are flocking to Canada to take advantage of a stable stock market structure, while many companies are exiting China due to threats of tightened regulations.
The full list of countries with their respective prices can be found here.