This is simply wrong. The energy consumption of the miners increases or decreases according to the competition between the minors, and not the number of transactions being validated. Digital Signature Validation uses a tiny amount of computing power. Your three-year-old laptop can verify a signature in milliseconds and you’d be hard-pressed to find any trace of that work in your electricity bill. Why is competition so intense? use? Economy. Bitcoins are expensive right now, and every 10 minutes a minor will have 12.5 brand new ones. This competition is healthy because it means that the efforts devoted to securing the network automatically adapt to the value of the transaction data stored in the blockchain. The more the Bitcoin network is profitable (because the customer values it), the higher its budget and therefore more resources are devoted to its security. This is a stark contrast to the secure data, for example, from Equifax or any other big data company where the data security effort is evolving with risk assessment and fear of liability on the part of a management team.
The reward for new bitcoins is halved every four years, until it actually reaches zero. Miners will continue to work because they can also collect fees that network users add to their transaction messages, but the total payment at home for a winning minor will likely be lower than it is today, even if the price of a Bitcoin continues to increase. Lesser rewards mean less computing power dedicated to security and less electricity consumed.
For every time you pull out a VISA card and use it to make a transaction, you’re not aware of the 100,000 square-foot data center that is using 100,000 servers to do fraud detection. You’re not aware of the tower offices that are lit 24-hours a day, the trading floors, the bank vaults, armored cars, and the diesel trucks… All of those costs are mostly hidden and they’re enormous.
If the Bitcoin system was ten times bigger, with ten times more users, it wouldn’t need ten times more mining – what we have is enough. There’s a profit motive that drives it, but it’s a mistake to think that if Bitcoin simply goes global, the energy cost will also multiply. It’s quite the opposite. Over time, the reward for Bitcoin mining decreases, and as a result, it is more likely that we will see the energy cost gradually taper off and plateau.