Add up the combined computing power of the world’s 500 fastest supercomputers – that’s billions and billions of dollars worth of hardware – and compare it to the raw processing power of every computer currently producing the alt-currency. bitcoin, and what do you get?
The network of computers “mining” bitcoin is more powerful— eight times more powerful, in fact.
And that’s not all: the bitcoin network is also considered the world’s first exascale computer, which means it is capable of quintillion floating point calculations per second. Some people claim that exascale computing will make everything possible, from predicting the effects of climate change to to produce energy by fusion. Supercomputers are not expected to reach this speed for some time around 2020.
However, bitcoin mining is distributed among the multitude of machines that devote computing power to the network, helping to solve cryptographic puzzles every 10 minutes, for which they are sometimes rewarded with new bitcoins. And the bitcoin network has become so specialized that much of it cannot be used for other purposes. So what bitcoin did is the fastest supercomputer in the world which can only be used to mine bitcoin.
Add this to $150,000 per day bitcoin miners collectively spend on electricity to produce approximately half a million dollars worth of bitcoinand the scale of computing resources currently devoted to the production of virtual currency is really relativized.